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How farmers co-operate and double profit 

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Cornell University 

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His faitbful and at last triumpliantly Bucceeeful -work in getting Irish farmere 

organized for business co-operation should be an inspiration to 

all ^vho are tr3nng to e^ect similar results in our o^vn 

country. (See Chapters XVIII. XIX. and XX,) 

How Farmers Go-operate 
and Double Profits 

First-Hand Reports on All the Leading Forms of Rural 

Co-operation in the United States and Europe — 

Stories That Show How Farmers Can 

Co-operate by Showing How 

They Have Done It and 

Are Doing It 



Editor "The ProfiresBive Farmer ;*' Member Organization Committee 

National Conference on Marketing and Farm Credits ; Chairman 

Topics Committee National Farmers' Union : Author of 

"Cotton," "A Southerner in Europe," "Where 

Hali the World Is Wakin£ Up," etc 

iBetat ^otit 

Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Company, Limited 

Copyright 1915, by Clarence Poe. 
All Rights Reserved 



Mv Jf atticr anb iWotfier 







The author has endeavored to make this volume a prac- 
tical guide-book on the subject of rural co-operation — not 
a book setting forth what might be done, but a book of 
actual reports of what has been done and is doing ; stories 
based on first-hand investigations. 

I went to Ireland, France and Denmark and have visited 
State after State in our own Union expressly for the pur- 
pose of seeing on the spot just what is being accomplished 
in every important line of agricultural co-operation and 
then giving this information directly to my readers. There 
is, I believe, just one conspicuous success in agricultural 
co-operation that I have wholly missed — the co-operation 
of citrus fruit growers in Florida and California. I have 
visited both these States, but I have not personally in- 
vestigated their citrus fruit organizations. Nor have I 
been able to visit the Arkansas Cotton Marketing Associa- 
tion described in Chapter XVI. 

In keeping with the spirit of this volume, I have thought 
it best tq have both these activities described, as other 
activities are, from the standpoint of personal knowledge 
and investigation. I am, therefore, indebted to my friend, 
Prof. W. R. Camp, formerly of California, for preparing 
Chapter XV almost as it stands, and to my friend Prof. 
D. N. Barrow, for preparing the interesting report of the 
Scott Cotton Growers' Association in Chapter XVI. 

C. P. 


THIS book, as I have already suggested, is intended 
as a guide-book to business co-operation among 
farmers. And yet in the very outset I would say 
this one emphatic word to the reader: We may 
have any number o£ guide-books on co-operation, we may 
have free and unlimited lectures, pamphlets, bulletins, etc., 
describing the advantages of co-operation, and yet if one 
thing is lacking we can do nothing. That one thing is 

Knowledge, Faith, Leadership — this is the trinity of es- 
sentials in rural co-operation, and the greatest of these is 
Leadership. Give us Leadership and all the other things 
will be added to us. 

Let me, therefore, in the very beginning put this ques- 
tion to the reader: Why not make yourself a leader of 
progress in your neighborhood — a leader in bringing about the 
co-operative spirit and co-operative effort? 

Co-operation is, indeed, the master word of the new cen- 
tury, and in your neighborhood and all other neighbor- 
hoods all the farmers must learn to work together. 

You can't farm profitably any longer unless you do. You 
must work with your neighbors in buying fertilizers and 
supplies. You must work with them in buying and using 
modern labor-saving machinery. You must work with 
them in getting more and better live stock. You must 
work with them in packing, shipping and selling your crops 
after you grow them. You must work with them to de- 
velop some system of rural credits whereby men may help 
one another out of the Slough of Debt and on to the High- 
road of Independence. And having done all this, it will 
yet remain true that you cannot have a satisfying life, no 
matter how much money you make, unless your neighbors 


are educated, a reading people, well-informed, neighborly 
and anxious to join with you for better schools, better roads, 
prettier homes, a richer social and intellectual life, and for a 
happy, "pull-together" neighborhood. 

Get the vision, then, reader friend, young or old, man or 
woman : You can't be as happy as you ought to be unless 
your neighborhood is as happy as it ought to be. You 
can't prosper as you ought to unless your neighbors prosper 
as they ought to. Get the vision and keep the faith. Make 
yourself a leader in revolutionizing your neighborhood. 

Hard work? We know it. Slow work? There is no 
doubt about it. But go to it with the foreknowledge that 
the work will be hard and slow. Go to it even with the 
knowledge that — hardest of all to bear — there will come 
bitter days when the very men you yearn to help will judge 
you wrongly and misinterpret your motives, and you will 
weary of the struggle as Jonah did under his gourdvine, or 
Elijah under the juniper tree, or as Moses grew sick at 
heart when the Canaan-bound Hebrews mutinied because 
he had not let them alone in their bondage. 

Go to the work, we say, with the knowledge that it will not be 
wholly easy, and yet with the knowledge that it will be glorious 
in the end ; glorious even if you do not see the end, but die hav- 
ing only inspired someone else to carry on the task you could 
not finish. Be glad the task is hard; be glad it is a man- 
sized job. There would be no heroism in doing it if it 
were not. You gain no strength in wrestling with the weak, 
but only in wrestling with the strong. And so you win 
soul-strength, strength of character, only by doing hard 
things. "Oh, do not pray for easier tasks," as someone 
has well said, "but pray God to make us stronger men." 
And Dr. S. C. Armstrong said a thing we should never for- 
get when he declared: "Doing what can't be done is the 
glory of living." 

Despite all the difSculties, therefore, be content that your 
own life will be incomparably richer, happier and more 
meaningful if you will but throw your whole soul into the 


big, unselfish task of making your community what it 
ought to be — a community of comrade farmers, co-operat- 
ing farmers, a community with more of beauty and thrift 
and neighborliness and intellectual stimulus in it than 
would ever have been possible but for your efforts. 

And in working out such an ambition, remember that 
your first duty is to get your neighbors aroused. You must 
carry knowledge to them, and not only knowledge but 
inspiration. You must work with them and at them, with 
infinite patience, to make them a reading people — to read 
the books and papers that will help you in carrying out 
your ambition ; and you must get them together early and 
often in meetings and conferences. You must especially 
watch the boys and girls who have ambition for progress, 
nor yet despair of older men and women whose inertia and 
conservatism may yet be broken through. 

Then, too, you must work with one and all with the 
knowledge that they are your brothers and your sisters — 
that you are no better than they, and that some neglected 
man or boy in the shabbiest clothes and in the meanest 
house may have potentialities greater than anybody else 
in the neighborhood. You must feel yourself always a co- 
worker and never a commander ; you must be more anxious 
to develop leadership in others than to have any prominence 
of leadership yourself. 

But most of all, you must have faith in men and women, 
boys and girls — and not only faith in them but genuine love 
for them. It is a great saying of Tolstoi's : 

"We think there are circumstances when we may deal with human 
beings without love, and there are no such circumstances; you may 
make bricks, cut down trees, or hammer iron without love, but you can- 
not deal with men without it." 

And one of the greatest leaders of men that this old world 
has ever known uttered one of his profoundest thoughts when 
he said that a man may speak with the tongues of men and 
angels, and have all knowledge, and all faith, and all philan- 


thropy, and yet fail as a leader and a man, if he is without 
love for his fellows. 

And now by way of a practical application of all the fore- 
going let me suggest ten practical ways for starting co- 
operation in your neighborhood, indicating at the same 
time portions of this book in which I have set forth the 
experiences of other groups of farmers on each particular 

1. Are you trying to get your neighbors to buy their fer- 
tilizers, feedstuffs, etc., co-operatively? 

This is about the simplest of all forms of co-operation — 
"the A B C of co-operation," as the Irish say — but the 
economies so effected have often been eye openers to farm- 
ers who have previously sat in darkness. Even if you have 
no local farmers' club, you can still get your neighbors to 
join with you and make a bulk order at considerable saving 
to all concerned. But if you have a local organization you 
can work more easily and effectively. 

On this and allied subjects read Chapter III on "Co- 
operative Buying." Read also the experiences of Minne- 
sota co-operative stores in Chapter VIII, an Irish co-op- 
erative purchasing society in Chapter XX, what French 
farmers have done as described in Chapter XXII, and the 
interesting experiences of Danish farmers as told in Chapter 

2. Are you trying to get your neighbors to join with you 
in buying and using improved farm machinery? 

There is hardly a farmer in America but that should be 
practicing this form of co-operation. Consider, for example, 
how many hundreds of thousands of farmers have plowed 
around stumps summer after summer their whole lives 
through, simply because each one did not feel able to buy 
a stump puller — when by joining together all could have 


cleared their land of stumps at a minimum of expense and 
without one inconveniencing the other. Check over the 
following list of just a few machines that might be owned 
in common and see if you cannot pick out certain neighbors 
who would "go in with you" in buying and using some of 
them to advantage: 

1. Stump puller. 14. Stalk cutter. 

2. Manure spreader. 15. Grain drill. 

3. Corn shredder. 16. Mower. 

4. Corn harvester. 17. Peanut picker. 

5. Fanning mill. 18. Clover huller. 

6. Pea huller. 19. Grain thresher. 

7. Spraying outfit 20. Meatchopper. 

8. Canning outfit. 21. Horse clipper. 

9. Cowpea thresher. 22. Cement tile machine. 

10. Traction plowf. 23. Road drag. 

11. Harvester and binder. 24. Farm level. 

12. Lime and fertilizer distributor. 25. Cane mill. 

13. Potato digger. 26. Hay press. 

It is an unprogressive farmer who doesn't own some of 
these in co-operation with his neighbors. Even if he is a 
rich plantation owner, he should nevertheless pursue this 
policy as a matter of encouragement and help to his less 
prosperous neighbors who may thus get help they would 
otherwise lack. 

On this point read the report of what some American 
farmers' clubs have done as told in Chapter VI, an Irish 
experience in Chapter XX, some successful French plans in 
Chapter XXII, and the record of co-operation among Den- 
mark's one-horse farmers in Chapter XXIII. 

3. Are you working to secure any organization of your 
neighbors for marketing staple crops? 

In a country in which the power of organization has been 
so convincingly demonstrated, it would seem to be a strange 
question to ask a farmer, "In the marketing of your crops 
are you as a lone individual (probably poorly informed at 
best), going up single-handed against all the organized 


forces, powerful, wealthy and well-informed, now ready to 
take advantage of you?" Have not the farmers' grain 
elevators proved that every grain farmer should have part 
in this movement? Have not co-operative cotton and to- 
bacco warehousing and marketing (even though only in 
their infancy) proved that by selling together cotton grow- 
ers and tobacco growers can get better prices for these 
staple crops? Are not the citrus fruit growers' association 
and truck growers' organizations in various parts of the 
country living examples of the fact that "in union there is 
strength"? Has not co-operative live stock shipping brought 
new profits to corn belt farmers? 

Unless you are in some crop marketing organization, Mr. 
Reader, you are sleeping on your opportunities. Resolve 
now that your neighborhood will not market this year's 
crop without some form of co-operative effort. 

And here the reader may profitably consult the expe- 
riences of numerous farmers' societies recorded in this 
volume — ^the record of the citrus fruit growers of Florida 
and California as told in Chapter XV, the magnificent show- 
ing of the Eastern Shore of Virginia Produce Exchange, 
Chapter XIII; experiences In marketing wheat, Chapter 
IX; cotton and cottonseed marketing experiences as told 
in Chapters VI, XII and XVI; the victory co-operation 
brought Wisconsin berry growers, Chapter X, etc. 

4. Have you stock in any enterprise for the secondary 
handling of your products? 

As we are emphasizing in Chapter I, our farmers should 
not only make the profits on the production of their raw 
material, but should co-operatively own and manage all the 
enterprises for putting this raw material into what yre may 
call a secondary form. The question is, then, whether you 
have stock in any — 

1. Grain mill? 4. Or packing house? 

8. Cotton mill? 5. Or tobacco prizery? 

3. Or creamery? 6. Or cottonseed oil mill? 


In other words, the author contends that what we may- 
call "agricultural manufacturing" should be carried on in 
enterprises co-operatively owned by farmers, the profits 
being paid out in the form of patronage dividends to the 
persons who furnish these profits. 

For information on such enterprises in this country and 
abroad — the creamery being unfortunately, however, the 
one form of "agricultural manufacturing" in which co- 
operation has made conspicuous progress — consult Chap- 
ters VII, XVI, XVIII, XXIV and XXV. 

5. Have you tried to organize your neighbors for co-op- 
erative marketing of country produce and of live stock? 

The old plan (or no plan) whereby one farmer went to 
town with two dozen eggs, another with four or five 
chickens, another with a ham, and another with a peck of 
apples, must give way to some profitable co-operative mar- 
keting method in each neighborhood. 

Read in Chapter VI the story of one co-operative produce 
marketing association in which the writer is a stockholder. 
For reports of live stock shipping associations see Chapter 

6. Have you joined with your neighbors in purchasing any 
pure-bred live stock? 

The use of scrub sires has been a bane of American agri- 
culture. We cannot expect proper interest in stock raising 
until our farmers have animals in which they can take pride 
and which have been bred for profit making along certain 
definite lines. Nor can we ever have this if each individual 
farmer must purchase worthy sires for his own herds and 

Just as we are safe in saying, therefore, that the joint 
ownership of farm machinery is one form of co-operation 
in which every farmer should participate, so we say that 


every farmer should have an interest in some royal blooded 
stallion, bull, boar or ram that he will feel proud to name 
as the sire of his colts, calves, pigs or lambs. Talk this 
matter over with your neighbors as one of the surest means 
of starting co-operation. 

7. Are you interested in or trying to encourage any mutual 
insurance association? 

Every farmer should belong to some co-operative fire 
insurance association (they exist almost all over the coun- 
try, and if you haven't a branch in your county, it should 
be easy to organize one), and we should also have associa- 
tions for mutual accident insurance, such as have proved 
such a success among French farmers. 

Read the reports of successful farmers' insurance asso- 
ciations in America as given in Chapter XVII, and French 
experiences as given in Chapter XXII. 

8. Are you a member of or trying to organize any credit 
union or other rural credit association? 

No matter what sort of system for lending money on 
land our State or National government may devise, we 
must have some societies through which farmers may pool 
their savings and lend them out to one another on proper 
security. Because not all features of the Raiffeisen credit 
organization may suit America is no reason for saying 
that none of their features will. Every farmer should be 
a member of some form of local credit union or rural build- 
ing and loan association. 

Read the simple story of the Irish rural credit societies 
in Chapter XIX, and see if there is really any reason why 
some such plan could not be inaugurated in your neighbor- 
hood. Or if some other plan seems necessary, note in 
Chapter XIV that Catawba farmers have organized a rural 
building and loan association and are making a success of it. 

p. Are you a member of a co-operative telephone com- 


Farmers should co-operate not only in matters which 
insure financial profit, but in everything that makes for 
the improvement of country life. The telephone is not 
only profitable financially in that it will convey all kinds of 
business messages that a man and a horse would otherwise 
have to carry, but it enriches life for all the members of 
the family. If every farmer in a neighborhood will do his 
part, the cost per capita of a co-operative line will be small 

10. Are you co-operating to get for your family and your 
neighbors the higher things of existence? 

Are you a member of a farmers' club or local union or 
grange? Is your boy in the corn club work and your girl 
in the girls' canning club movement? Is your wife one of 
the United Farm Women? Are you co-operating with 
your neighbors educationally by supporting local taxation 
for schools? Are you always ready to do your part when 
the neighbors plan a Sunday school picnic or a Fourth of 
July celebration or a baseball team or a "big day" at the 
neighborhood school? And finally, are you co-operating 
with your neighbors in the settlement of disputes by arbi- 
tration — co-operation which eliminates the terrific expense 
of unnecessary middlemen-lawyers? 

This tenth item really presents an illustration of "the last 
shall be first and the first shall be last," for the very first 
step in business co-operation must frequently be the or- 
ganization of farmers along social lines. It is equally true, 
however, that without some successful business feature 
about ninety-nine farmers' clubs out of a hundred fail. 
The thing to do is to try to get the organization and then 
give it something to do — or better still, have something 
definite for it to do from the very beginning. 

In the matter of suggestions for making a farmers' club 
a success, read Chapter II, noting the manner of organiza- 
tion, needed committees, plans for a rural census or 


survey, etc. ; read Chapter VI setting forth some practical 
business activities of farmers' clubs, and note the activities 
of some women's organizations in Chapters IX and XIV. 

Upon general matters it only remains for me to say that 
in Chapter VII, and in the Appendix, I have attempted to 
give needed help about the method of organizing co-opera- 
tive enterprises, what manner of by-laws should be adopted, 
etc.; in various chapters throughout the book I have em- 
phasized the importance of high-quality products; in 
Chapter XXIV and others I have discussed briefly the neces- 
sity for having legal, binding contracts and proper auditing 
of the books; and in Chapters XXI, XXIII, XXVI and 
XXVII I have brought out the fact that education and 
home ownership form the only foundation for successful 
co-operation or a satisfying rural life. Because tenancy 
and ignorance exist in your neighborhood is not a reason 
for shirking the battle, however, but only for making more 
determined effort not only to get co-operation, but to pro- 
mote education and home ownership. I have also called 
attention, though not so emphatically as I ought, to the 
importance of avoiding the credit system which has 
wrecked probably ten thousand farmers' societies, and I 
would reiterate that there is no safety outside the strictly 
cash basis of operations. I would also urge Southern read- 
ers interested in co-operation to consider the importance 
of developing homogeneous communities, from the racial 
standpoint. We simply cannot adequately develop rural 
co-operation or rural community life where a population, 
sparse at best, is divided between two races who are utterly 
separate socially. Consequently where negroes cease to 
become hired laborers or renters and become independent 
landowners working for themselves, they should buy land 
apart from those communities where white people wish to 
develop a robust community life with a homogeneous white 
population. In two school districts, each with fifty negro 
landowners and fifty white landowners sandwiched to- 
gether, neither schools nor churches nor social life can be 


half as good for either race as if the hundred families of 
each race were grouped together. 

May I not in conclusion again urge the reader to set out 
to make himself a leader in rebuilding his neighborhood, 
finding for himself the inner joy and happiness that comes 
only through service to one's fellows and to some high 
ideal ? 

"Oh, it is great and there is no other greatness," says 
Carlyle, somewhere, "to make some nook of God's creation 
more fruitful, better, more worthy of God," and it is in the 
quest of this form of greatness that one is surest to find 
what President Eliot has happily called "the durable satis- 
factions of life." To the man who has an ideal of a richer 
and fuller life for his community and who unselfishly sets 
to work to bring about this ideal, the glorious reward is 
usually seen with the material eye long before age has 
dimmed its vision. But to the triumphant spirit of every 
man who seeks to hasten "the good day coming," it is 
enough, even if only with the eye of faith, "he shall see the 
travail of his soul and shall be satisfied," and dying 

"Join the choir invisible , 

Of those immortal dead who live again 
In minds made better by their presence . . . 
Whose music is the gladness of the world." 

To such tasks, to such high spiritual adventures, are the 
leaders of rural America now called. In fact, the by- 
products of co-operation — comradeship, fellowship, that 
new attitude toward life which has made Denmark "a little 
land full of happy people" — these are so much more im- 
portant than even the striking material rewards, that I 
have hesitated to call this book "How Farmers Co-operate 
and Double Profits." For, as a matter of fact, important as are 
the dividends in cash, the dividends in brotherhood are 
greater. C^ 


PLEASE USE THE INDEX.— The chapter headings in this book 
indicate very incompletely at best the range of subjects covered. The 
reader in quest of information on any particular point is therefore 
urged on all occasions to consult the Index, beginning on page 239. 
This Index not only indicates with greater precision where to find just 
the information wished, but frequently enables the reader to compare 
experiences of a considerable number of co-operative groups. The 
ideal of the author, in fact, has been to inspire the general reader with 
interest and enthusiasm for co-operation by means of genuine "human 
interest' stories of co-operation experience, and also furnish, with the 
added help of the Index, a practical guide book for those engaged in 
organising co-operative enterprises. 


The Farmer Must Take Complete Control of His Business 21 

First of All a Good Local Farmers' Club : How to Make It a Success 29 

Co-operative Buying Is Good; Co-operative Merchandising May or 
or May Not Be 37 

Rural Credits and Co-operation 48 

Why I Believe in the Farmers' Union, Grange, etc 56 

Some Farmers' Clubs I Have Known: Examples of Neighborhood 
Co-operation 63 

How to Organize a Co-operative Society : Some Fundamental Prin- 



How Co-operation Remade a Minnesota Neighborhood : A Properly- 
Organized Rural Community 75 

Why Can't You Have a Neighborhood Like Svea? 83 

How Wisconsin Berry Growers Met an Ugly Situation : Successful 
Produce Marketing 90 

More Co-operation Stories from the Northwest: Co-operative 
Laundry Work, Live Stock Shipping, Cheese Making, etc 95 

Co-operation to Get Better Cotton Prices 100 

A $3,000,000 Truck Marketing Association in Virginia 113 

A North Carolina County Co-operation Has Waked Up : Cream- 
eries, Egg Collecting, Potato Marketing, Credit Societies, etc. 123 

What Florida and California Citrus Fruit Organizations Have Done 130 

An Arkansas Cotton Marketing Association 137 

Every Farmer Should Join a Mutual Insurance Company: What 
Some Companies Are Doing 142 

Making Farmers into Business Men: How Co-operation Has Re- 
made Rural Ireland 147 

.Two Irish Rural Credit Societies and How They Work 155 



The Large Outlook of Irish Agricultural Leaders: The Prob- 
lems of Rural Co-cperation 164 

Agricultural Co-operation in England 171 

What Co-operation Has Done for French Farmers - 178 

Co-operation Gives Danish Farmers Three Profits Instead of One. 186 

Cows and Co-operation Have Made Denmark Rich: Business 
Methods and High Quality Products as Factors 194 

Averaging $3 More Per Hog Through Co-operation: How Live 
Stock Farmers Benefit 301 

"Folk High Schools" Made Danish Co-operation Possible 307 

Seven Secrets of Success with Danish Co-operation: The Ex- 
perience of Denmark as a Lesson for America 313 

What Sort of By-Laws Shall We Have? 223 

Regulations for a Co-operative Store 233 

By-Laws of a Farmers' Club 335 

Parliamentary Rules 237 



This Is the Fundamental Purpose of Rural Co-operation — 
Profits Must Go to Patronage — Farmers Must Get Profits 
Not Only from Growing Raw Material but from Grading 
It, Converting It into More Finished Forms, and from 
Direct Marketing. 

BUSINESS co-operation among farmers — ^what are 
the fundamental purposes and principles of this 
movement of which we now hear so much? This, 
it seems to us, is the most pertinent consideration 
for us in the very beginning of this volume. 

The answer is, of course, that the object of rural co-op- 
eration is to bring to the farmer not only the profits due 
him as a laborer, but also profits which he may win as a 
business man — by grading, developing and marketing the 
products he has first made as a laborer. And the object is 
not only to secure these extra profits for the farmers as a 
class, but to secure their equitable distribution among in- 
dividual farmers by dividing profits on the basis of patron- 
age instead of on the basis of capital. 

For centuries we have had an industrial system in which 
money rules men. The dollar, "the almighty dollar," as 
it has come to be known, is above the man. Money hires 
men. The lowest possible wages are paid the workingmen 
who turn out the products of the various businesses, the 
highest possible prices are charged the consuming public 
who buy these products, and then all the profits realized 
between these minimum and maximum figures go to the 
moneyed stockholders in proportion to their money. No 


matter how enormous these profits are, the men whose 
sweat and labor have wrought out the product share none 
of the benefits, nor does the consuming public receive one 
cent of rebate. 

The basic principle of co-operation, on the other hand, 
is that men shall hire money instead of having money hire 
men, and that after paying money its legitimate hire (a 
reasonable rate of interest), all the remaining profits shall 
go to the people who furnish patronage. 

Now, there are a thousand patrons of a business for every 
one stockholder in it. Consequently, when profits go to 
patrons under the co-operation principle wealth is diffused 
among many people ; when profits go to stockholders under 
the corporation principle wealth is concentrated into a few 
hands — and already 54.2 of our American families do not 
even own the roof that shelters them, and not one man in 
three lives in a home to which neither landlord nor mort- 
gagee may lay claim. 

A corporation is an assemblage of dollars for the purpose 
of hiring men to secure profits for the dollars. Co-opera- 
tion is the assemblage of men for the purpose of hiring 
dollars to save profits to the men. And by this plan co- 
operation aims to avoid both the Scylla of capitalism and 
the Charybdis of socialism. It will not have the profits 
of labor absorbed by fashionable idlers under the form of 
plutocracy, nor by a different class of idlers under the form 
of communism. It is for the men who work — the only sort 
of men worth saving, the only sort of men society should 
seek to serve. 

In addition to the principle of paying dividends on patron- 
age, there are, of course, certain other well-established prin- 
ciples of successful co-operation, the main ones being sum- 
marized under twelve brief heads in our chapter on "How 
to Organize a Co-operative Society." 

So much for the principles of business co-operation. 
Now let us see what our forward-looking leaders of rural 


progress hope to win for the farmer by applying these prin- 
ciples in agriculture. 

•Agricultural co-operation on the whole, then, let me say, 
means simply that the farmer must take control of all 
phases of his own business — the business of growing and 
delivering to the world its food and the raw material for 
its clothing. 

Heretofore the farmer too often has been only a hireling 
in his own house. He has been the laborer who did the 
hard work but received only such profits as were left him by 
his industrial masters — ^these masters being the men from 
whom he bought his supplies ; the men who converted his 
products into secondary form; the men who marketed his 
products; and the men who lent him money to carry on his 
business or to buy food from other farmers while he worked. 

I hate demagoguery, and I would do nothing to stir up 
class feeling; but the big facts in this matter must not be 
blinked, and it will require only a little thought to show 
that the farmer has surrendered to other interests all the 
business side of agriculture apart from production, and that 
all these other interests have prospered in greater degree 
than has the farmer, who is the creator of all the basic 

The merchant who has sold the farmer his supplies ; the 
grain buyers and cotton buyers and tobacco buyers and pea- 
nut buyers who have marketed his product ; the millers and 
packers and ginners and cottonseed oil men who have con- 
verted his products into more finished forms; the money- 
lenders and the time-merchants who have furnished him 
credit — all these have taken their tolls, and in nearly every 
instance their profits have been larger than those made by 
the farmer himself. It has been asserted that in some lines 
the farmer receives only thirty-five cents of the dollar which 
the ultimate consumer pays for his product. 

Now, let us see what are the lines of co-operation that we 
must develop if the farmer is really to take control of these 


profit-absorbing phases of his own business, and get his 
proper share of the final consumer's dollar. To eifect this 
, result it seems to me that our farmers everywhere must 
definitely resolve upon five general branches of rural co- 
operation : 

(i) Co-operation in buying supplies for making farm 

(2) Co-operation in raising farm products. 

(3) Co-operation in finishing farm products. 

(4) Co-operation in standardizing and marketing farm 

(5) Co-operation in securing capital for making and mar- 
keting farm products, and in all necessary insurance. 

Several of these five subjects have already been rather 
abundantly discussed. Farmers are already pretty fully 
converted to the idea of buying their supplies — fertilizers, 
feedstuffs, etc. — on the co-operative plan. Farmers also 
are rapidly learning the wisdom of co-operation in raising 
farm products — co-operation in owning and operating wheat 
threshers, stump pullers, corn harvesters, traction plows, 
corn shredders, wheat drills and other labor-saving and 
profit-making machinery, and co-operation in getting better 
breeding sires. 

They have been decidedly slower, however, in realizing 
that it is part of the business of farming to co-operate in 
finishing farm products — putting them into secondary form 
— as it is a purpose of this book to urge. And by convert- 
ing farm products into more finished forms, I mean such 
work as that of cotton gins for separating the farmer's 
seed cotton into lint and seed, cottonseed oil mills for con- 
verting the cottonseed into meal and oil and hulls; grain 
mills for converting the farmer's grain into flour and bran 
and meal ; creameries for converting his milk into butter and 
cheese; canneries for converting fruit and vegetables into 
canned goods ; and packing houses for converting his hogs and 
cattle into properly cured pork and beef products. All 
these enterprises are distinctly a part of the farmer's busi- 


ness, and wherever business conditions make them profit- 
able they should be conducted by him on a strictly co- 
operative basis. 

In other words, I maintain that it is the farmer's duty 
to give the world its food and the raw material for its cloth- 
ing, and that he should conduct and receive profits from all 
the business operations of delivering the food to the con- 
sumers and the lint cotton and the wool to the factories. 
The principle has its bounds, of course, but I maintain, for 
example, that it is as much the farmer's business to grind 
the corn as to shell it, and as much his business to gin the 
cotton as to pick it. It is because the farmer has hereto- 
fore lost the profits on all such operations and on all the 
business of handling his crops that he is poor. As Prof. 
E. C. Branson has so well said: 

"The farmer's wealth-producing power is enormous; his wealth- 
holding power is feeble. The retention of wealth is everywhere our 
greatest problem; not merely the production of wealth." 

Think of our annual billion-dollar cotton crop, and then 
of how few millions will be left to our farmers as profits 
after the farmer satisfies all the agencies that now take 
toll from his wealth before he gets "the leavings." 

Twenty years ago, as we shall see later on in this volume, 
the dairy farmers of Ireland and Denmark were doing 
exactly as our American farmers are doing today. They 
were simply following the old system of "every man for 
himself" and letting the bulk of their profits slip through 
their fingers — part going to the merchant who sold them 
feedstuflfs, part to the capitalists who owned the creamery 
and bought their milk and butter, part to the middleman 
who marketed the finished products for them, and part (or 
the rest) to the money lender or "gombeen-man" (time mer- 
chant) who made them advances. 

Today, however, these farmers have made themselves 
independent by taking complete control of their business 


just as I am saying the American farmer must take complete 
control of his business. 

They have co-operative purchasing societies for buying 
their feedstuffs together and save a profit here. They have 
co-operative creameries for converting their milk into 
butter and cheese and save a profit here. They have co- 
operative societies in marketing direct to English and 
German markets and save a profit here. And they have 
co-operative credit societies and save a profit here. 

In other words, the co-operative Irish and Danish farm- 
ers have taken complete control of their business from start 
to finish, just as our American farmers must do. No won- 
der Hans Hansen, a Danish farmer who had formerly cul- 
tivated a i6o-acre farm in America, told me at his home in 
Denmark that, thanks to this fuller degree of co-operation 
there, he was doing about as well with thirteen acres there 
as he did with i6o in America. Certainly if these Irish and 
Danish farmers were in our shoes, they would soon have 
co-operatively owned cotton gins, cottonseed oil mills, cot- 
ton and tobacco warehouses, packing houses, grain eleva- 
tors, grain mills, etc., etc. (not by starting new enterprises 
in communities already fully supplied, but by buying out 
plants already running or else establishing new ones in 
communities not properly supplied at present), and they 
would buy fertilizers together direct from the factory; 
they would co-operate for economical production; they 
would standardize grades and market their cotton co-op- 
eratively; and they would provide some form of co-opera- 
tive rural credits. 

I repeat that I am not advising farmers to start new 
co-operative gins or mills or warehouses where there are 
plenty of these privately owned. But they may well buy 
out an established plant in such cases and put it on the 
co-operative or "patronage-dividends" basis, or they may 
establish such new co-operative enterprises outright where 
the business justifies it. 

The enormous losses in grading and marketing cotton 


under present conditions offer a fine illustration of what 
our farmers lose by not taking charge of the marketing end 
of their business. We should both establish co-operative 
selling agencies and establish a definite and officially recog- 
nized standard of grades. Organized or co-operative mar- 
keting is the only plan whereby the farmer can get the 
benefit of proper grading of his products — 

(i) Because the organization can employ an expert grader, 
whereas the individual farmer cannot become an expert in 
this work ; and — 

(2) Because an association of farmers can guarantee 
grades and insure the acceptance of their grading work by 
the commercial world as an individual farmer cannot. 

The fifth and last form of co-operation to which farmers 
must give attention is the rural credit society, the organiza- 
tion of a group of farmers in each community for the pur- 
pose of obtaining and lending money to their members at 
low rates of interest for productive purposes. It is to our 
everlasting discredit that we have yet done nothing in this 
respect, for not only have these organizations pulled 
thousands and thousands of Irish farmers and Danish 
farmers and German farmers out of the mire of 
poverty, but when I was in Japan I found that even these 
so-called "heathen" farmers had for years been improving 
their opportunities in this respect ; and when I went down 
into India I found that even "the poor, benighted Hindus" 
had realized the advantages of co-operation in rural credit 
and that the British government was actively assisting 
the heathen worshipers of idols over there in this advanced 
step which we in America have not yet taken. 

The conclusion of the whole matter is simply that the 
twentieth century farmer is yet going to become master in 
his own house, is yet going to take charge of the whole 
business of agriculture, and will absorb all the profits of 
the processes of supplying the world with food and with 
raw material for its clothing. He will not be content merely 
to grow the raw product as a low-priced muscular laborer. 


and let all the profits of handling and selling the product 
go to other classes. Instead, the farmer is to be both 
laborer and business man. He is to get one profit from 
growing the product; he is to get still another profit from 
grading, finishing and marketing it. Heretofore he has 
made one profit by working alone, as an individual being; 
henceforth he will make another profit by working with 
others as a social being. 

There must be co-operation (i) in buying supplies, (2) 
in crop production, (3) in crop finishing, (4) in crop market- 
ingf' (S) in rural credits. The farmer must take complete 
control of his business. 



Have Regular Programs and "Roll Call of Opinions" — Eight 
Permanent Committees That Should Be Always Active — 
Make Community Surveys and Have Public Meetings — 
How to Get Outsiders Interested. 

THE very first thing to do in getting business co- 
operation started in your community is to get 
your neighborhood waked up. And the best way 
to get it waked up is to organize a farmers* 
club and a club of farm women. Don't organize merely 
because "all other classes are organized and farmers ought 
to be," but organize for business—determined to do some- 

In order to get a club started, the leader should first try 
to interest a half dozen neighbors, or as many as he can, 
and try to get the biggest possible crowd in starting. Have 
a speaker or organizer from a distance if possible — ^not a 
mere exhorter, but a man who will give practical sugges- 
tions for making the club a power in the community. We 
would also suggest that you link up your club with what- 
ever general organization the farmers of your State 
have. Union, Grange or Society of Equity, as the case may 
be. In some states there is nothing but the Union, ia 
others nothing but the Grange, and so on; 

Then having brought your farmer neighbors or your 
neighbor women together into the organization, the next 
thing to do is to make your meetings interesting. If the 
secretary simply calls the roll, reads the minutes of the last 
meeting, and the president merely puts through the formal 
"Order of Business," your club will soon starve to death. 



The writer now belongs to a live, active, useful local union 
of seventy-five members, and we are confident it would not 
be half so strong but for the fact that for two years past 
it has had a fixed program for each meeting, with one or 
two speakers assigned to each subject and given sufficient 
advance notice to enable them to prepare themselves 

Another excellent idea is to have a "Roll-call of Opin- 
ions" at each meeting. After the regular speakers have 
expressed themselves on the subjects assigned for discus- 
sion, call on each member present to give his opinion within 
a one, two, three or five-minute time limit, as the circum- 
stances may seem to require. In this way you will call out 
the quieter and less active members and frequently develop 
qualities of leadership in them which might otherwise never 
come to life. And just here it should always be remem- 
bered that the sort of leaders we need in every organization 
are not those who wish to magnify their own importance 
and demonstrate their own superior abilities, but men with 
that truer sort of leadership who will seek out and develop 
all the force and power in other men, finding more pleasure 
in developing others than in exhibiting themselves. 

A chief object of your organization in every case must be 
to make your neighborhood not a collection of individuals, 
but a real community — and there is indeed a great distinc- 
tion here. As Mr. George W. Russell of the Irish Home- 
stead has well said, we have had until now virtually no 
rural "communities." We have had rural sections in which 
individuals live here and there ; but we have not had neigh- 
borhoods of people bound together by common interests 
and common ideals — a community consciousness. 

The truth of this observation must be only too plain to 
all thinking people. Consider the city nearest you, how its 
inhabitants boast of its growth in population, in postoffice 
receipts, in bank deposits, in office buildings! How they 
brag about its factories, industrial plants, big stores; its 
schools, its parks, its streets, its public buildings — or at 


least about each item in which it makes a better showing than 
its nearest rival city! There are slogans, "Bigger, Busier, 
Better Beantown," "Watch Jonesville Grow," or "Boom- 
town Leads, Others Follow," etc., which flaunt themselves 
in colored signs by day, flare forth in electric lights by night, 
or strut vaingloriously on your city friend's lapel as you 
talk with him. 

What we need now is to develop a like community spirit 
in our country districts. Why should not the people living 
in a rural school district or a rural township boast of hav- 
ing the best roads in the county, or the best school, or the 
best school library, or the biggest corn club, or the greatest 
number of painted houses, or the best farmers' club, or the 
most houses with waterworks, or the most silos, or the most 
registered cattle, or the most attractive social life — which 
is to say, the most neighborly people? Why shouldn't they 
be ready to come together in a public meeting to take action 
about any plan affecting the people of the neighborhood ? Why 
shouldn't the local farmers' club be as active in promoting 
every idea for the upbuilding of the community as the city 
chamber of commerce is in promoting every idea for the 
upbuilding of the city in which it is located? 

We believe, in fact, that this should be a main purpose of 
the local club, and to this end we would suggest that the 
regular program be sidetracked at any time in order to have 
the members discuss and act upon any matter of neighbor- 
hood betterment. Furthermore, we would suggest that 
there be a special committee to look after each leading sub- 
ject affecting the life of the community. 

At a recent conference in which the writer participated 
it was agreed that a suitable list of committees for such a 
farmers' club would be: 

(1) Committee on Farm Production. — Soil fertility, scientific and 
progressive crop growing and stock raising; improved tools and ma- 
chinery and co-operation in their use. 

(2) Committee on Marketing and Credits. — 

(o) Marketing crops and produce. 


(6) Co-operative buying, 
(c) Rural credits, and thrift. 

(3) Committee on Social Life. — To encourage all forms of useful 
recreation, local fairs, baseball and other games; school and neighbor- 
hood picnics; Christmas, Easter, July Fourth and Thanksgiving cele- 
brations ; com shuckings ; quiltings ; debates ; tnusicales ; reading circles, 
etc., etc. 

This committee would also be expected to look after the question 
of good roads. 

(4) Committee on Educational Work. — This committee, it was de- 
cided, would be expected to look after — 

(a) Improving the school. 

(6) Extension work; lectures; library development, getting 

books, bulletins, and papers into all homes, etc. 
(c) Boys' and girls' farm clubs. 

(5) Committee on Moral Conditions and Improvement. — To com- 
bat all agencies of dissipation or immorality; develop church and Sun- 
day school interests and enlist these in the efforts for community de- 

(6) Committee on Health Conditions and Improvement. — ^To study 
conditions and adopt means for promoting the health of the com- 

(7) Committee on Woman's Work. — To look after home equipment, 
to work out plans for household management, home industries, recrea- 
tion for the farm woman ; and so on. 

(8) Committee on Arbitration. — To settle all disputed matters and 
to advise as to arbitration of private disputes. 

After the committees are appointed chairmen should be 
required to report progress at each meeting, or failing, 
unexcused, to report at two successive meetings, should be 
understood as resigning, and it should also be understood 
that any member of a committee who is absent without 
excuse from three successive meetings of his committee 
would thereby retire himself, the chairman immediately 
naming a successor. 

Of course, if you are going to improve your neighborhood, 
the first thing to do is to ascertain in what respects it most 
needs improvement. If you should get sick and send for 
a doctor and he should come one day and give you a lot of 
medicine and wait till next day to look at your tongue and 


feel your pulse and ask about your digestion and take your 
temperature, you wouldii't think much of that doctor. 

In the same way, if you organize a lot of people interested 
in bettering your community, the first thing to do is to find 
out what ails the community. For this reason the very first 
thing to do is to make a census or "survey" of social, indus- 
trial, educational and health conditions. A friend of the 
writer's, Mr. John W. Robinson, told us recently how his 
local Union, by paying a competent young man $1.50 
a day, in three days made a remarkable census of the whole 
community, getting answers to forty-eight pertinent questions 
from the fifty-eight families in the school district. With this 
comprehensive information before it, the local Union and 
its allied club of United Farm Women were prepared to 
go right to work to meet the community's most pressing 
needs. They knew how many families were not repre- 
sented in church or Sunday school; how many children 
were out of school ; how many families took no farm paper, 
and how many no county paper ; how many did not patron- 
ize the school library; how many used patent medicines; 
how many boys were in the corn club, and how many girls 
were in the tomato club; how many farmers not in the 
Union and how many farmers' wives not in the United 
Farm Women; how many farmers had attended the insti- 
tute the previous year, and how many women the women's 
institutes, etc. 

It is just such information, together with similar specific 
information as to farming practices, marketing methods 
and rural credits that every farmers' club should have in 
definite shape before going ahead with its work. 

The writer, as chairman of a state committee on this 
subject, recently worked out, in collaboration with others, 
a series of fifty questions bearing on community condi- 
tions, and this list of questions has now been used in mak- 
ing the "rural census" in hundreds of school districts. 

We are printing herewith a list of these questions as used 
in a recent survey of one rural county (Moore County, 


N. C), together with the number of farmers answering 
"yes" and the number answering "no" to each. We would 

commend these fifty questions to readers as a basis for 
diagnosing neighborhood life in any section. 



1. Do all your children between six and sixteen attend 

school? 255 27 

2. Is any boy or girl in your family attending college ? 6 263 

3. Do any of your boys study the school books on agricul- 

ture? 53 280 

4. Do your boys and girls study the health books ? 149 96 

5. Do your children read any library books? 311 176 

6. Do you take a county paper? 189 112 

7. Do you take a farm paper? 206 112 

8. Do you get the agricultural department farm bulletins ? 141 140 

9. Do you own your farm? 269 37 

10. Do you belong to a farmers' organization? 120 181 

11. Does your wife belong to a woman's club? 17 136 

12 Do you attend the farmers' institute? : 226 150 

13. Does your boy belong to a corn club? 10 249 

14. Does your girl belong to a canning club? 63 234 

15. Are you a church member? 245 60 

16. Do your children attend Sunday schools? 236 58 

17. Do you own farm machinery in co-operation with your 

neighbors? 72 226 

18. Do you co-operate with your neighbors in buying fer- 

tilizers, feedstuffs, or other supplies? 136 147 

19. Do you co-operate with your neighbors in marketing 

your crops? 87 216 

SO. Do you have a garden all the year around? 325 76 

31. Do you usually have milk and butter all the year 

around? 250 58 

83. Has the farm demonstration agent helped you this year? 60 337 

33. Do you buy corn? 120 186 

34. Do you buy meat? 313 130 

25. Do you buy hay? 42 266 

26. Do you raise corn to sell? 93 211 

37. If you sell corn, are you able to get a fair price for it 

in cash? 187 43 

28. Have you pure-bred cattle? 95 192 

29. Have you pure-bred poultry? 140 190 

80. Have you pure-bred hogs? 143 163 

31. Do you sell any hogs, cattle, pork or beef? 162 130 

33. Is there competition between the buyers of the farm 

products you sell? 79 171 



33. Do you keep informed concerning prices in more than 

one market? 185 81 

34. Have you helped your local bank by depositing your 

savings in it? 119 181' 

35. Has your bank ever helped you by lending you money? 93 181 

36. Does the buyer alone determine the grade of your cot- 

«■ ton, tobacco, peanut or other money crop ? 190 108 

37. Do you use patent medicines? 130 164 

38. Is your house screened? 106 194 

39. Do you sleep with your windows open in winter? 171 133 

40. Do you get R. F. D. service ? 218 94 

41. Would you favor a reasonable tax for road improve- 

ment? 834 77 

43. Is there a telephone in the house? 58 258 

43. Do you have to carry water over 100 yards? 89 220 

44. Is your house insured against fire? 60 240 

45. Do the boys have Saturday afternoons off for baseball 

or other recreations? 94 165 

46. Is the house painted? 63 234 

47. Are the outbuildings whitewashed ?__ 11 273 

48. Would you favor larger schools with more children, 

more teachers, better paid, larger and better house 

and grounds? 191 116 

49. Would you favor industrial, agricultural and some high 

school subjects in your school? 343 63 

50. Would you favor enlarging the school district by con- 

solidation, with transportation where necessary and 

voting reasonable local tax to secure these results ? 87 216 

In appoititing the committees we have indicated for your 
farmers' club, we would also suggest that you do not make 
them up entirely of members of your own club. Put on 
each committee, of course, three or five of your ablest mem- 
bers who are definitely interested in the subject assigned, 
but add two or three outsiders who you know will do good 
work as associate members to act with them. Both men 
and women should be on each committee. 

Then arrange public meetings, say once a quarter, or at 
least twice a year, inviting everybody in the community, 
young and old, male and female, to attend and join in dis- 
cussion of the plans developed by the committee — ^plans for 
better farming, marketing, etc., and plans for making the 
neighborhood a better place to live in. At the first public 


meeting it will be a good idea to present the results of your 
census or survey and have local speakers tell what plans 
for progress they think should be taken up. Both by nam- 
ing some outsiders as associate members of your commit- 
tees and by getting other outsiders to attend your public 
meetings, you will increase the interest in your organiza- 
tion, and by showing that there is real work to be done, 
win many to membership and activity. Picnic features 
will also prove helpful. 

Now, Mr. Farmer, Mrs. Farmer, seeing what can be done 
(for if you do not need all these plans you will certainly 
need some of them), why not set about organizing your 
neighborhood this year? It's the only way to develop a 
live community. The New England "town meetings" 
(township meetings, in fact) did much to make New Eng- 
land great ; but in the South and West we have no similar 
occasions for bringing together all the people of a township 
or school district. 

The best plan is to have a strong graded school and make 
it the social center of your community, have your club 
meetings there, and let all the activities of the neighbor- 
hood group themselves around the school. But unless you 
organize your farmers and farm women in some way, noth- 
ing else can possibly make your section the progressive 
community it ought to be. 



Co-operative Merchandising Not the Highest Form of Co- 
operation — Rules That Should Be Observed in Any Case — 
When Farmers Are Entitled to Manufacturers^ Prices — 
Why They Should Buy for Less Than Town Patrons — 
Farmers Should Club Together and Place Monthly or Semi- 
Monthly Bulk Orders — Better Borrow at 6 or 8 Per Cent 
Than Pay lo to 70 Per Cent in Form of "Time Priced' — 
Co-operative Merchandising a Better Thing to "Groin/' Into 
Than to "Go" Into. 

WHENEVER a group of farmers organize, one of 
the first questions likely to come up is as to whether 
it is wise to buy a stock of goods and run a "co- 
operative store." Of course, there is no one answer 
that can be given to fit all cases. It depends, for one thing, 
upon whether or not the prospective manager is absolutely 
known to be a good business man. It depends also upon 
whether the organization has a large enough membership to 
insure patronage enough to make the venture a success — ^in 
connection with whatever patronage may be safely counted 
on to come from outside. 

And then the prospective stockholders or promoters should 
also consider this important fact — that farmers almost every- 
where can get quotations on short notice and do most of the co- 
operative buying that is necessary by joining together and 
ordering what they want and paying cash, without running 
the risks (and they are big risks for inexperienced men) that 
are involved in purchasing a stock of goods and hiring a man 



to sell them. Of course, whenever and wherever you hire a 
man to stay with a stock of goods and sell them, his salary 
must be added to the selling price. 

Certainly farniers should not start a new store in an area 
already abundantly supplied with merchants without first 
giving the matter very serious thought. In Wisconsin, 
Minnesota and nearby states a considerable number of 
co-operative stores are now succeeding admirably, but in 
most cases it has been the policy to buy out some existing 
store rather than start a new one outright. "We have 
enough middlemen already," these wise Western farmers 
have said. "We don't want to increase the number." If 
they think a co-operative store is needed they watch their 
chance and buy out some merchant when he is willing to 
sell at a reasonable price. 

There is one fact that we would emphasize in any case, 
and that is that buying ordinary groceries and dry goods is 
nowhere the big and significant form of co-operation to 
which our farmers must give attention. Consequently, if 
you and a group of neighbors buy a little stock of calico, 
plug tobacco, Western side meat, and granulated sugar, 
and hire a manager to sit down and wait for customers, 
don't fool yourself into thinking you have then started the 
best form of co-operation. 

Simply taking stock in a proposition like this and wait- 
ing for whatever success or failure follows will not develop 
the co-operative spirit among you; will not make real 
.business men out of you; will not develop the genuine 
'"pull together" spirit among you. It is both more risky 
fand less beneficial than other forms of co-operation. It is 
more risky than these, even if you are wise enough to sell 
only for cash — ^because inexperienced men will not select 
stock wisely, and because unless you have a big sale your 
running expenses are likely to more than eat up your 
profits, and especially because nine stores out of ten will 
sooner or later invite disaster by selling on credit. 


Consequently, while we believe co-operative stores are 
advisable in many instances, we believe five rules regard- 
ing them should always be observed : 

(i) They should never be started until a thoroughly safe 
manager is found; 

(2) They should have what seems to be an adequate 
patronage in prospect — either through superseding an ex- 
isting store or by taking over the patronage of a co-opera- 
tive purchasing society; 

(3) They should sell only for cash; 

(4) They should comprise townsmen as well as farmers ; 

(5) They should pay only legal interest on stock and 
divide all other profits on patronage. 

What is probably a wise provision, however, is the plan 
of giving twice as great profits on patronage furnished by 
stockholders as on that furnished by non-stockholders — 
provided every man is free to buy stock. This plan of 
"double dividends for stockholders" naturally encourages 
every man to take one or more shares. 

Moreover, we repeat that even when all these conditions 
are met, we regard co-operative merchandising as both 
more risky and less beneficial for farmers than co-opera- 
tion with regard to the three bigger and more necessary 
lines directly affecting farm work and life — co-operation in 
producing, marketing and financing the farmer's crops. All 
the three forms of co-operation just mentioned require 
business thought and foresight and prudence and fellow- 
ship on the part of the individual co-operators, and a will- 
ingness to pull together and bear one another's burdens — 
in greater degree than is required in conducting a co- 
operative store, whose affairs are left largely to the man- 
ager. These are the things that develop character and a 
spirit of brotherhood, a feeling of unity, a capacity for 
team work — things which our farmers need much more 
than they need the money they may get even from success- 
ful co-operative stores. 


To make my position perfectly clear, I think I ought to 
repeat that I believe every farmer should participate in 
co-operative buying, but I should not say at all that every 
farmer should participate in co-operative merchandising. 
Ordering together certain definite supplies you need in 
farm virork — ^this may be a very different proposition from 
buying a miscellaneous assortment of goods and hiring 
a man to sell them to a miscellaneous body of people. This 
latter policy may or may not be a desirable form of co- 
operation ; that will depend upon local conditions. But in 
any case farmers should join together to buy their fer- 
tilizers, feedstuffs and machinery, whether bought through 
a local merchant or from a distant dealer. Upon this point 
Mr. George W. Russell of the Irish Agricultural Organiza- 
tion Society has well said : 

"You must bear in mind, what is too often forgotten, that farmers 
are manufacturers, and as such are entitled to buy the raw materials 
for their industry at wholesale prices. Every other kind of manufac- 
turer in the world gets trade terms when he buys. Those who buy, not 
to consume, but to manufacture and sell again, get their requirements 
at wholesale terms in every country in the world. If a publisher of 
books is approached by a bookseller he gives that bookseller trade 
terms, because he buys to sell again. If you or I as private individuals 
want one of those books we pay the full retail price. Even the cob- 
bler, the carpenter, the solitary artist, get trade terms. The farmer, 
who is as much a manufacturer as the shipbuilder, or the factory pro- 
prietor, is as much entitled to trade terms when he buys the raw ma- 
terials for his industry. His seeds, fertilizers, plows, implements, 
cake, feeding stuffs, are the raw materials of his industry, which he 
uses to produce wheat, beef, mutton, pork, or whatever else; and, in 
my opinion, there should be no differentiation between the farmer 
when he buys and any other kind of manufacturer. 

"Is it any wonder that agriculture decays in countries where the 
farmers are expected to buy at retail prices and sell at wholesale 
prices ? You must not, to save any row, sell the rights of farmers." 

Let us repeat, then, that we believe farmers should always 
Ho co-operative buying — ^but not always co-operative merchan- 
dising. We believe in co-operative buying, because farmers 
are entitled to manufacturers' prices, as Mr. Russell em- 


pHasizes; and because they are entitled to buy any kind of 
merchandise together and save the extra expense and labor 
and bookkeeping that manufacturers and dealers would incur 
in making separate sales of such merchandise to all these in- 
dividual farmers. Farmers are also entitled to buy from city 
stores at lower prices than these stores charge city customers 
for whom expensive deliveries must be made. As Mr. C. W. 
Hillhouse of Sylvester, Ga., said in a letter to the writer 
recently : 

"Take our little town. There are perhaps a half dozen of our mer- 
chants who cater to the city trade and run delivery wagons, so they 
have the expense of six men to drive, up-keep of six drays, expense 
and feed of six horses, when perhaps through co-operation of these six 
merchants, one dray, one horse and one man could do the work. One 
lady away out in the residence section, say a mile distant, will 'phone 
one merchant for a peck of meal, another for a sifter, another for a 
quart of vinegar. So away go three drays to make tiese deliveries, 
where by co-operation one could do it easily." 

This is one explanation of the ever-increasing "high cost of 
living." Of course, the cost of all this expensive delivery 
service must be added to the prices of the merchandise sold — 
there is no other way on earth to pay it — ^and when a town 
store charges both townspeople and farmers the same cost- 
plus-delivery prices, the farmers are simply paying part of the 
cost of this exorbitantly expensive system of free delivery for 
townspeople. Now if merchants will not co-operate and at 
least reduce this expense to a minimum, they need not be sur- 
prised if consumers, especially country consumers, decide to do 
more and more co-operating on their own account. As Prof. 
L. H. Goddard has said in a circular of the Rural Organiza- 
tion Service, United States Department of Agriculture : 

"It is probable that very few people realize the unfairness of any 
store charging farmers the same price for supplies as they charge city 
people, even though the goods may be sold to the farmers on the credit 
basis, which perhaps is less often than in the case of dty people. The 
cost of delivering an order of goods from the store to the home of the 
town consumer will vary from perhaps as low as three cents to at 


least as much as 10 cents per order, depending upon the size of the 
town and the kind of delivery. By a combination of their delivery 
business so that one set of wagons delivered for 11 stores in a city of 
6,000 inhabitants, these stores were able to have seven wagons do the 
work that had been requiring 17 wagons, and do it even better than it 
had been done previously. After effecting this combination the cost 
of delivery per order was cut to about 3^ cents. In a city of 21,000 
inhabitants, in which a store kept account of cost of delivery and 
charged it up to each consumer in accordance with the number of de- 
liveries required, as it really should be in all cases, the cost was from 
9 to 10 cents per order. In the fii'st mentioned town there are resi- 
dents who rarely ever fail to have something on every one of the four 
daily trips which the stores have been able to maintain on the im- 
portant streets of the town, since establishing their combination de- 

"A moment's calculation will show that at the low cost of 3J4 
cents per order, which probably is not more than half the average of all 
stores, it costs $40 or more per year to deliver goods to such a family 
as the ones mentioned, whereas another family that has two deliveries 
per week would occasion a delivery expense about one-tenth as great. 
Where goods are delivered, the delivery charge alone is said to cost 
town stores from 5 to 20 per cent of the cost of goods sold, depending 
on size of town and character of goods." 

This delivery cost of purchased articles, it must be re- 
membered, is always one of the chief items of expense in 
piecemeal buying, and it is expensive whether the farmer 
or the merchant does the work of delivering. When a 
man and a horse are taken from farm work half a day (as 
not infrequently happens) to get a few pounds of meat, a 
pound of coflfee, two plow-points, and a few pounds of 
nails, the delivery cost may be not merely "from 5 to 20 
per cent," as in the city, but may even reach 25 or 50 per 
cent. Farmers ought to consider, therefore, that in buy- 
ing in piddling quantities, they not only pay higher prices, 
but the delivery cost is greatly increased or even multiplied. 
As Mr. E. M. Stickney, a Demopolis, Ala., farmer said 
recently : 

"Is it best for a man to buy what he needs periodically, say once a 
'month, from a wholesale dealer and save the worry and distraction of 


frequent and irregular trips to town, and at the same time save the 
retail man's profit, or is it best to buy what you need just any time yott 
happen to think of it, by piecemeal in a hand-to-mouth way, and pay 
from 10 to 20 per cent more than you should? Of course, all will agree 
that the former method is the best. I know, however, of several fam- 
ilies in this locality who buy supplies as though they were next door 
to a grocery store. 

"Now tell me, what do farmers, living six miles from any base of 
supplies, look like buying just enough for two or three days or even 
a week? They are tearing up the organization of their working force 
by trips to town, and at the same time losing money by buying in small 
quantities. All this could be avoided by well-planned purchases, once 
a month at a wholesale price, and a little trouble in caring for the 
groceries after they are bought." 

Before farmers decide to start new stores of their own in 
little villages, therefore, it will be well to inquire if it will 
not be a better form of co-operation to make up monthly- 
orders for the main supplies needed, and place these bulk 
orders in whatever way will save the most money. Fre- 
quently the local merchant will handle them on a small 

Ninety-nine times out a hundred, too, it will pay rep- 
utable farmers to borrow money from some bank or honest 
money-lender (preferably a bank) at 6 or 8 per cent in- 
terest per year instead of paying at the rate of lo to 
40 per cent a year in the form of "time prices." Only 
a few months ago the writer sent out a batch of inquiries 
to several hundred farmers in the South Atlantic and South 
.Central States, including the following questions: 

"About how much more do merchants charge for time prices than 
for cash prices in your community? What per cent extra for six 
months time?" 

Taking fifty replies, without selection, just exactly as we 
come to them, we find farmers' replies as follows : 

Per cent extra charged for six months' time prices : 8-15- 
S-30 to 100-40-5-20-20-25- 10-8-25 to 40-40-40-10-25 to 50-50- 
20-25 to 50-35-10 to 25-10 to 20-10-15-15 to 25-10 to 50-25 to 


Af>^7-"2 for i"-8-io to 50-io-i5-33%-"They charge from 25 
per cent to grand larceny"-io to 20-10-4-5-10-15-4-16-20-10- 
20 to 25-10-20-50-25-10 to 25. 

On the writer's own market last spring and summer corn 
sold for 85 cents a bushel cash and $1.05 on time, due 
October i. Farmers who bought April i thus paid an interest 
rate of 47 per cent a year; farmers who bought July I 
paid at the rate of 94 per cent a year. 

From these figures it seems safe to assume that on time 
prices for ordinary supplies the average charge is i2j^ to 
20 per cent for six months' time, or at the rate of 25 to 40 
per cent interest per annum. The same increase is charged 
on many purchases paid within three months' time, making 
the interest rate in such cases equal 50 to 80 per cent per 
year. And with such evidence it should certainly not be 
necessary to ask whether it will pay to borrow money at 
6 to 8 per cent per year and save from 10 to 40 per cent 

Instead of paying "time prices" we should certainly ad- 
vise any honest farmer to go to some banker or man of 
wealth and borrow money at a reasonable rate of interest, 
put it in a bank, and check on it as needed to pay cash for 
■whatever he needs. 

Understand us, we do not favor putting all the blame on 
the merchants. They have to stand so many losses fronj 
dishonest and shiftless persons that they must make time 
prices exorbitant; so exorbitant that an honest man can't 
afford to pay them — certainly not until he has tried his 
local banks and exhausted all other efforts to get money 
at a reasonable rate of interest. 

The fact is that whenever you get goods on credit and 
later pay for them as an honest man, you must always pay 
for the goods the dishonest man bought on credit and 
didn't pay for. This is the meaning of "time prices" — 
this together with the fact that the merchant must always 
add on still another percentage to cover risks. For ex- 


ample, when I lent a cousin on my old homestead farm 
last year the money to pay for his fertilizer in May, the 
interest I charged him for the six months was only 3 per 
cent, while the merchant's discount for cash was 20 per 
cent — a saving to my cousin of 17 per cent. But this didn't 
mean that the merchant was charging 17 per cent extra 
interest for six months. Rather, the 17 per cent interest 
represented (i) average losses from other farmers and 
tenants who might not pay for the fertilizer at all, plus (2) 
a very handsome margin of insurance against the utmost 
possible loss the merchant might sustain — all to be paid 
by honest buyers. 

Here, then, is the chance for co-operation in buying. 
Farmers whenever possible must arrange to pay cash for 
their supplies, and those who have cash or can obtain it 
will find it profitable to club their orders together once or 
twice a month. Then if patronage develops and patrons 
show such "sticking qualities" that it is evident that the 
day for bigger things has come, it will be time enough to 
consider opening a warehouse say one or two days a week 
for the convenience of other farmers and thus making a 
more serious start into co-operative merchandising. 

As Prof. Goddard says in the circular from which we 
have just quoted : 

"In communities in which farmers cannot secure from dealers the 
proper reduction in the cost of supplies, even when they are willing to 
limit the service to the economic minimum and to buy for cash, or 
where the service afforded does not rise to the level of the economic 
minimum, there are a number of courses open to them : 

"1. A simple plan is for a number of individuals, with a common 
shipping point, to join in sending an order to some available supply 

"3. With further experience and information such a group of farm- 
ers may usually get a better reduction on carload cash orders of such 
articles as seed, feed, twine, machinery, fuel, salt, flour, sugar, cement, 
building material, fencing, fertilizer, etc., because of being able to order 
in many cases directly from the factory or producer, or from a source 
of supply very close to the producer. 


"3. If desired this grejup of farmers may make available some 
building at or near the local shipping point which would serve as a 
warehouse for storing supplies in case the car arrives when the people 
are very busy, or the roads very bad, or in case part of the carload 
would not be needed until later in the year. 

"4. In some cases where these warehouses have been established it 
has been found necessary to appoint some one to keep them open on 
stated days, afternoons, or evenings of each week or month. In a few 
cases, at least, these warehouses have gradually grown into stores 
which were kept open most or all the days of the week. 

"5. Still another plan is to establish a farmers' mercantile corpora- 
tion or a farmers' co-operative store — raising the capital for same in 
the usual way, by selling shares." 

Some further good counsel as to how to conduct the ware- 
house of the purchasing society is given by Prof. Goddard 
in the following paragraphs : 

"If it seems wise to establish a warehouse, as mentioned in item 3, 
it must be borne in mind that one of the primary purposes of the ware- 
house is to promote economy, and, therefore, that proper economy is 
necessary to every state of the work. For example, it will usually be 
possible to secure for warehouse purposes, at a moderate rental, some 
old building that will be good enough to protect its contents from' 
storm and intruders. The higher the rent the more it will be necessary 
to add to the price of goods that are stored. By all means avoid 
raising money to buy a building for this purpose until the business is 
well established and it is badly needed." 

"If the practice develops of shipping in material to supply future 
needs, it may be necessary to open the warehouse more frequently, for 
example, Saturday afternoons and several evenings each week, and 
with the further development of business of this character the build- 
ing will need to be opened still more frequently and continuously. 
Just when the warehouse will arise to the dignity of being called a 
'store' will be hard to determine. It might perhaps better continue to 
be called a warehouse, no matter how much business of that character 
it does, since most people have come to associate the much more 
elaborate and unnecessary service with the name 'store,' and by retain- 
ing the name 'warehouse' the organizers and those who later become 
interested will continue to keep in mind that one of the purposes for 
which the movement was started was to cut down service and corre- 
sponding expense." 

In other words, Prof. Goddard's conclusion, like our own, 


seems to be that farmers may be sure they ought to do co- 
operative buying, but ought not to feel so sure that they 
ought to do co-operative merchandising. And where the 
co-operative store succeeds it is usually when the people 
"grow" into it rather than "go" into it. Begin at least with 
co-operative buying. 



Not All European Ideas Are Adaptable Here, but Some of 
Them Are — "Amortization" Explain^ and Illustrated — 
Every State Should Adopt the Torrens System of Register- 
ing Land Titles — We Must Make It Easy to Save Money as 
Well as Borrow It. 

ADAM SMITH observed in his "Wealth of Nations," 
written in 1776, that "since the downfall of the 
Roman Empire the policy of all the great European 
nations has been more favorable to manufacturing, 
the industry of the towns, than to agriculture, the industry 
of the country." 

If the celebrated English economist were still living he 
might truthfully make the same observation as being good 
to this day, and he might include America along with the 
European countries in his statement. And he might fur- 
ther cite the banking system of the United States these last 
hundred years as a fine illustration of how the government 
as a rule has calmly formed its statutes for the benefit of 
the city man, placidly assuming that the tillers of the soil 
have no rights that urban interests and lawmakera are 
bound to respect. Until the new currency legislation of 
1913, for example. National banks might not lend money 
on land at all, and if the farmer managed to present other 
satisfactory security, he could get money only for three or 
four months at the time, whereas in farming one usually 
needs money for a longer period or not at all. 


In recent years, however, a number of European coun- 
tries have worked out more or less satisfactory rural credit 



systems, and while some European plans (such as the un- 
limited liability of members in Raiffeisen banks) would 
not be popular in this country, there are certain European 
methods our American farmers should take advantage of. 

One of these is the amortization plan of farm loans, such 
as the writer found in operation in Ireland and on the Con- 
tinent, whereby a man may buy a farm and pay for it in 
small annual or semi-annual installments running through 
10, 20, 40 or even 60 years, each installment amounting to 
little more than legal interest, but gradually reducing the 
principal until all is paid. It's the building and loan idea 
of "Buying Your Home With Rent Money." Thus, in Ire- 
land we found land which had been sold to the farmers, the 
government advancing the money on payments running 
68 years, the buyer to pay 3J4 per cent a year, 2% per cent 
counting as interest and J4 per cent a year going to pay off 
the debt. (Of course, 2^ per cent interest is ridiculously 
low, and probably no government for a hundred years will 
ever offer so low a rate again.) v'n New Zealand a man can 
pay for land by paying 5 per cent a year interest and 3 per 
cent a year on the principal for twenty years. 

Amortization, of course, is simply the principle of com- 
pound interest in reverse action — working for the benefit 
of the borrower instead of for the benefit of the lender. 
For example, interest on $100 at 6 per cent is $6 a year. 
But if you agree to pay $9 a year (which is equal to 9 per 
cent a year on the original $100 principal) you would at 
the end of the first year reduce the principal to $97, so that 
the interest the second year would be on only $97 instead 
of $100 — or $5.82 interest instead of $6 interest. In other 
words, the second year you would have $3.18 left to apply 
on the principal, reducing the balance due to $93.82 — and 
so on. Each year the principal would become smaller 
and the interest correspondingly smaller and the payment 
on the principal correspondingly greater, until the debt 
would be cleared up. 



In order to make the idea perfectly clear, we submit here- 
with a table we have worked out showing just how with 
money at 6 per cent you could borrow money under this 
plan and by paying 9 per cent a year on the original amount 
pay off the whole debt, whatever it was, in 19 years. Let 
us take a $100 loan as a basis. If you wish to see how it 
would work with a $500 loan, simply multiply each figure 
in the table by 5, or for a $1,000 loan, multiply by 10, and 
so on. 

Paying Off 

A $100 Loan 

BY Paying $9 a Year, Interest at 6 Per Cent 


due for 
the year 

Rest of J9 

Pay't left for 


Total pay't 

(m principal 

to date 

due on 


























Most amortization plans also provide that the borrower 
may make heavier payments at any time or pay off the 
entire principal and save all future interest. 

It is easy to see how such a plan would stimulate thrifty 
industry and enterprise. Thousands of people unable to 
buy land under present conditions would purchase under 


such an amortization payment plan as we have mentioned ; 
thousands who are unable to tile-drain their lands, or drain 
swamps, or build silos, or build worthy homes, would enter 
the door of hope thus opened to them. 

Of course, we can hear some people say that many would 
borrow foolishly. That is undoubtedly true, but it does not 
seem likely that very many more would borrow foolishly than 
now, when we recall the thousands of poor people who are 
slaves to the credit system and to loan sharks. And if a 
man borrows unwisely under this plan, there would be hope 
for him and his family to escape the burden of debt in time, 
whereas under the present mortgage system, foreclosure 
continually stares them in the face. 


If our farmers are ever to borrow money profitably on 
land security, however, they must have ever}rwhere a better 
system of registering land titles — something like the now 
famous Torrens system. In Germany, for example, the 
writer was told over and over again that no satisfactory 
rural credits plan would ever have been evolved but for 
action of this kind. 

Now, the difference between ordinary methods of land 
transfer in America and the Torrens system may be ex- 
plained very briefly. 

Under our present antiquated system, every time a piece 
of real estate changes hands, some lawyer must examine 
into the legality of the title. Old records, running back 
sometimes for hundreds of years, must be searched at great 
labor and expense ; and the next time the property is sold, 
and the next, and the next, the same identical work must 
be done over again, and other big lawyers' fees paid — a. 
system as foolish and uneconomical as paying a man to 
carry a brick from one side of the street to the other and 
back again and again interminably. 


Now the Torrens system proposes that instead of this 
perennial investigation of the same thing, this unending, 
Sisyphus-like job of rolling the stone uphill and then letting 
it roll straightway down again, and all to no purpose save 
the paying of unnecessary fees to lawyers who might better 
serve their fellows in some other way — instead of all this, 
we say, the Torrens system proposes that the State shall 
examine the title once for all, guarantee it, and register it, so 
that forever afterward it may be transferred almost as easily, 
quickly and cheaply as a government bond or a share of stock 
in an incorporated company. The original cost of a Torrens 
deed, even including the little tax for the guarantee fund, 
would hardly exceed the present cost of two title investi- 
gations; and ever after the farmer would be able to transfer 
his property or secure loans upon it, at from one-fourth to 
one-twentieth the present cost. 

The Torrens system is now in force in several states with 
good results. The writer has personally investigated its 
satisfactory operation in Massachusetts, Minnesota, Illinois, 
North Carolina, the Philippines and Hawaii. 

As for the technical side of the matter, the special pro- 
cedure necessary in a Torrens title case has been very 
clearly summarized by one authority as follows: 

"The owner of real estate makes known to the clerk of the court of 
the county or city in which the real estate is located his desire to have 
the title of the land certified and registered. Whereupon the clerk 
issues a summons, running in the name of the State, to all persons 
who may be interested in the real estate to come forward and protect 
their rights and interests therein, if any they can show. 

"After their summons has run due length of time, the examiner of 
titles for the district in which the land is situate, a duly appointed pub- 
lic official, takes the petition, goes to the records and makes careful and 
exhaustive investigation. Upon completion of the investigation, he 
makes report to the judge. Whereupon the judge sets a day for hear- 
ing and all parties claiming an interest in the title under investigation 
are notified to appear in court and set forth the nature and extent of 
their claims. 

"The title having been established to the satisfaction of the court, 
a decree is handed down certifying that the petitioner has title in fee 


in the land in question, the boundaries of which are registered, and an 
order is entered directing the clerk to make an entry of the title upon 
a book set apart for the purpose, as a registered title secured by the 
guarantee of the State. 

"Thereafter for all time the certificate of registration stands as a 
guarantee of the soundness of the title no matter how often the land 
may change hands or how much it may be sub-divided: no further ex- 
amination of the title, with the always greater or less expense attach- 
ing thereto, is ever required." 


It must never be forgotten, however, that enabling land- 
owning farmers to borrow money on their real estate solves 
only one form of the rural credits disease. There are three 
other highly important phases of the problem, as follows: 

1. Provision must be made for lending money for short time on 
personal credits. 

8. Provision must be made for helping worthy tenants or settlers 
buy land. 

3. Provision must be made for encouraging and accumulating farm- 
ers' savings to be lent out to other farmers. 

In most sections of the country probably the best thing 
a modern system of rural credits could do for us would be 
to provide a means of escape from the supply merchant's 
ruinous "time prices." For the fact is that as a general 
rule it has not been the paying of 6 or 8 per cent interest 
on debts that has caused farmers to lose their homes, but 
paying from lo to 40 per cent as extra charge for "time 
prices" on supplies. 

Mr. J. Z. Green, one of the best known Farmers' Union 
organizers in the South, points out how our farmers furnish 
rope to hang themselves with. Here is the process as he 
gives it: 

"It is a well-known fact that a large per cent of our farmers do not 
know what to do with surplus money when they happen to get a little 
ahead. So they deposit it in the banks at 4 per cent. The banks in 


turn lend it to the time merchants, and the time merchants, being law- 
abiding citizens, refuse to lend it to less fortunate farmers in violation 
of the 6-per-cent-interest law, but invest it in groceries and then lend 
the groceries to the needy customer at the moderate rate of from 30 to 
50 per cent interest. Beautiful system, isn't it?— for the time merchant. 
Under this 'system' the few farmers who, by denying their families of 
many comforts, and conveniences of life, manage to acquire a little 
cash surplus, immediately turn it over to the time merchant to capital- 
ize his private money-making business." 

The remedy, of course, is for farmers to stop getting 4 
per cent to the hurt of their neighbors, and begin getting 
6 per cent to the help of their neighbors. Without adopting 
the "unHmited liability" feature of the Raiffeisen system of 
Europe, farmers can form co-operative societies along very 
simple lines, as for example: 

1. Ten or more farmers can take stock with shares at $25 
each — ^totaling say $500 or $1,000 or $2,000 in all. 

2. Let the money be lent to members at legal interest 
rates for productive purposes only — the judicious pur- 
chases of live stock, fertilizers, or machinery, for example, or 
some other useful purpose. 

3. Require the borrower to give security worth twice the 
loan, or to be indorsed by two members with satisfactory 
property — or both. 

4. Limit the amount that can be lent to any one farmer 
to $50, $100 or $200, as may seem best. 

Or, perhaps the credit union may take the form of a rural 
building and loan association or "land and loan associa- 
tion." In any case, the rural credit organization must not 
ignore the fact that the rural credits problem is not wholly a 
matter of helping the farmer get money. Helping him save 
money is another big matter. Habits of thrift and economy 
must be encouraged, as Mr. Bradford Knapp is always and 
wisely urging. Consider, for example, the Raiffeisen banks 
in Europe — the little credit societies in which farmers have 
deposited $10, $25, $50 or $100 each to be re-lent to mem- 
bers: they have probably helped the farmer as much by 


giving him a start toward financial independence through 
saving as in delivering him from "time prices" bondage by- 
lending to him. 

Whatever is done with regard to loans on land, therefore, we 
must work out some system for encouraging and pooling 
the farmers' savings and using these savings to build up 
farm life. 



"Danger^' in Farmers' Organisations — But in No Other Way 
Can We Develop New Rural Civilization — Unions Favor 
Both Scientific Farming and Scientific Marketing — The 
Grange and Society of Equity Approved 

YOU ought not to have anything to do with the 
Farmers' Union," said a prudent, far-seeing busi- 
ness friend to me some time ago. "The Union will 
get mixed up with politics or will 'go after some 
impracticable schemes or will die out like the alliance." 

For once I confess I felt a little vexed with my friend; 
and my answer ran something like this: "I don't know 
whether it is prudent financially or not. Quite likely it 
is not. I know that the farmers are not used to work- 
ing together. I know that they are likely to be misled at 
times. I know they may sometimes have their prejudices 
aroused and turn down their truest friends at the behest of 
some demagogue. I know, too, that being untried in busi- 
ness, they may want to go off into some big, alluring, high- 
sounding scheme that will not work, instead of devoting 
themselves to neighborhood co-operative enterprises and 
building up from them. 

"I know all this," I continued, "and I know if my aim were 
simply to make money we might well let the Farmers' Union 
go ; or simply say that it is a good thing, and all farmers ought 
to join, etc. But I cannot be content with any such attitude. I 
am fighting not merely for better farmers and better farm- 
ing methods, but for a new rural civilization. It is not 
enough to help our farmers make more money ; they must 



be helped to a new economic and social life. And to ac- 
complish this result there must be organization. The 
farmers must meet and work together. I don't doubt but 
that they will make many mistakes. We all do. But as I 
see it, it is the duty of every farmer and every man who 
is patriotic, eligible and who loves our farmer folk to join 
the strongest farmers' organization in his section and help 
keep it from making mistakes instead of standing aside, 
predicting disaster, and waiting for a chance to say, 'I told 
you so !' " 

The writer speaks with such enthusiasm of the Farmers' 
Union because it is the strongest farmers' organization 
in the South and Northwest. Readers in the New Eng- 
land or Middle States may accomplish as much through 
their local granges or societies or equity. But in any case 
we see many advantages in having a local farmers' club 
linked up with some general organization. You will ac- 
complish more and your influence will extend farther. If 
you get benefits by combining individual farmers in a club, 
will you not get even greater benefits from combining in- 
dividual clubs into a general federation? 

What we ought to aim at all over America is the de- 
velopment of a great rural civilization such as Sir Horace 
Plunkett has wrought out in Ireland, and such as others 
have wrought out in Denmark, and I see no way to work 
out such a great rural civilization, no way to have such a 
development of rural education and rural co-operation, 
except through the organization of the farmers. "How 
shall they hear without a preacher?" There are ten thou- 
sand co-operative enterprises that should be established, 
but the first thing to do is to get the people together to 
discuss their advantages ; if we can get the people to meet- 
ing regularly together in every school district to discuss 
co-operation and how to co-operate, the co-operation itself 


will surely follow — co-operation that would take a genera- 
tion longer to get if we were without a missionary organ- 
ization to start with. 

And we are fortunate in that the Union has learned the 
lesson taught by the experience of other farmers' organ- 
izations. It has learned the great folly of depending upon 
political or governmental help instead of self-help as the 
way out. 

Education and Co-operation — these are our two great 
needs ! This must be our motto and our shibboleth. The 
longer I live the more I honor the memory of old Newt 
Gresham and those other plain, simple farmers who formed 
the first Farmers' Educational and Co-operative Union 
away out on the Texas plains and wrote its Declaration of 
Purposes! At times it would seem as if they acted by 
direct inspiration. The Farmers' "Educational and Co- 
operative" Union, they called it — called it so to forever 
emphasize the idea that education and co-operation, these 
two things and these two only, should be the supreme aim 
of the organization. And at every local Union meeting 
and at every county Union meeting, it seems to me, the 
one big pre-eminent question should be, "What can we do 
in the line of education and co-operation? For this is what 
we are here for — for education and co-operation and noth- 
ing else." 

"The greatest result of agricultural co-operation in Ire- 
land," as Sir Horace Plunkett once said to me, "is not the 
profits we have made, but the fact that we have made 
business men of farmers." They have worked out a new 
civilization — have learned to believe in themselves and in 
their neighbors, have learned to do team work, have gotten 
the power and profits of united effort ; and their co-opera- 
tion in business is making them capable of doing anything 
and meeting any situation that may arise. 

And the great secret is that Irish co-operation has begun 
at home — as it must always begin at home to be perma- 


nently successful. The place to begin co-operation is with 
your next-door neighbor. Mr. J. R. Rives told me the 
other day of two neighbors near him who had a horse 
apiece and had been making twenty bushels of corn per 
acre with hard work and one-horse tools. Last year they 
joined together, bought a disk plow and disk harrow, and 
plowed and harrowed and cultivated as never before, and 
made forty bushels of corn per acre. That's a sample of 
the sort of co-operation millions of our farmers need to do, 
co-operation which begins at home and helps the members 
of one's own local. 

This is the view taken by the North Carolina Farmers' 
Union, the strongest State Union in America, in a notable 
new step which we believe other organizations in other 
states will do well to emulate. Nearly $500 in prizes has 
been offered to locals that make themselves leaders in 
community betterment, as follows : 

No. 1 — ^To locals making best report of work done by them for de- 
velopment of community spirit through social entertainments, educa- 
tional rallies, and all enterprises calling for brotherhood and the "get- 
together" spirit, a first prize of $50, a second prize of $35, and two 
prizes of $10 each. 

No S — To locals reporting best system of co-operative marketing 
of products raised by its members, a first prize of $50, a second prize 
of $25, and two prizes of $10 each. 

No. 3 — To locals making best report of a survey of educational, 
agricultural, religious, economic and social conditions of the com- 
munity, a first prize of $25 and three prizes of $10 each. 

No. 4 — To locals making best report of work in co-operative pur- 
chase and ownership of pure-bred live stock, a first prize of $35, and 
three prizes of $10 each. 

No. 5 — To locals making best report in co-operative ownership of 
implements and machinery, a first prize of $25, and three prizes of $10 

No. 6 — To locals making best report of work in developing the read- 
ing habit among the people of the community, through libraries, books, 
papers and education of adult illiterates, a first prize of $25, and three 
prizes of $10 each. 

No. 7 — To locals making best report of work in increasing member- 
ship, increasing interest in the meetings, and the general usefulness of 


the local to its members, a first prize of $25, and three prizes of $10 

A special certificate of honor will be given to the local 
in each county that makes the best report in any particular, 
whether it wins a prize or not. 


Another thing I like about those wise men out in Texas 
who formed the Farmers' Union: they were not little, nar- 
row, one-idea men, but laid a broad and sound foundation 
for it and said once and forever in its "Declaration of Pur- 
poses" that the aim of the Union is both to help farmers in 
marketing, buying and selling, and also "to educate the 
farming classes in scientific farming," "to discourage the 
credit and mortgage system," and "to bring farming up to 
the standard of other industries and business enterprises." 

No man is a good Union man, therefore, who says there 
is no need of "educating the farming classes in scientific 
farming," just as no man is a good Union man who says 
there is no need of educating them in scientific marketing. 
The Union rightly says we must have both. We have been 
poor despite our hard work, both because we have lacked 
"education in scientific farming," and also the advantages of 
co-operation and marketing. 

Consider this fact, for example — that our farmers in the 
South have lived under the same general government, the 
same general marketing and economic conditions, as the 
farmers in the North and West. And yet the census 
figures prove that chiefly because of the better farming 
methods in the North the average North Atlantic States 
farmer earned in 1900 $984, while our average South At- 
lantic States farmer earned only $484 — $500 a year less 
than his more scientific northern brother; and at the same 
time the average North Central States farmer earned $1,074, 
while our average Southern Central States farmer earned 


only $536 — $538 a year less than the more scientific north- 
ern farmer. 

On the whole, I insist that the average southern farmer 
can make $500 more a year by better farming methods and 
$500 more a year by better methods of co-operation and 
marketing — and what I want us to do is to get both $500 
gains. An extra $1,000 a year per farm is what we must 
have to build up a great rural civilization in the South. 

And instead of the man who is trying to get the extra 
$500 by co-operation and marketing throwing stones at the 
man who is trying to get the extra $500 by better farming, 
let them work together. That's what the Farmers' Union 
says, and it is the policy all farmers should fight for. 

To make my meaning clearer, let me give another illus- 
tration. Cotton manufacturing is like farming, in that in 
both industries there are continual improvements in 
methods, in machinery, and in marketing. Now suppose 
a southern cotton manufacturer were losing money and 
should join with his brother manufacturers to market his 
goods co-operatively. That would mean more profit, no 
doubt, and would be a wise move, just as it is a wise move 
for our farmers. But suppose this same manufacturer kept 
on using out-of-date machinery, unscientific methods, an 
uneconomical system of production, while northern manu- 
facturers kept on improving their methods, using better 
implements and machinery, etc., etc. And suppose his 
manufacturing paper kept on telling this southern manu- 
facturer of improved scientific methods of production,, of 
labor-saving implements and machinery that other manu- 
facturers were using, and kept saying to him, "We must 
use as good methods as northern and western manufac- 
turers use or we will be put out of business." But suppose 
he should then say, "I am going to stop reading that paper. 
I am tired of so much teaching about better methods of 
manufacturing. All I want is a new marketing plan. I 
can use the same sort of manufacturing methods my grand- 


father used." The best system of marketing on earth 
wouldn't save that manufacturer from bankruptcy, poverty 
and ruin. 

It's the same way with our southern farmers. They 
may adopt the best marketing system on earth, but they 
must also do better farming or lose out in competition with 
other sections. And American farmers must adopt the 
best methods or lose out in competition with the educated, 
alert farmers of foreign countries. We sometimes seem to 
fall into the foolish notion that farmers in our immediate 
section are the only ones there are on earth. The truth is, 
that the locomotive and the steamship make us competi- 
tors with farmers all over the world. A man can get plenty 
of labor in India to work cotton at lo to 15 cents a day, 
and our southern cotton must compete with Indian cotton. 
In food and feed crops, we must compete with the wide- 
awake farmers in Europe and Canada. In growing cattle, 
we must compete with farmers in South America — and it 
is said that next year South America will even send corn to 
the United States. 

Moreover, we in the South also have to consider another 
big fact that cannot be too strongly emphasized. This is 
that we can never, never market cotton or tobacco effec- 
tively until we get better farming, so farmers can grow 
their own corn and feed and so escape the mortgage and 
credit system. For it is an admitted fact that the system 
of buying supplies now throws our staple crops pell-mell 
on every autumn market, and ruins every attempt at regu- 
lated, systematical, scientific selling of these crops. 

Better farming, therefore, will help us get better mar- 
keting, and both plans must go along together, as the 
Farmers' Union founders so wisely foresaw. 



First, Co-operative Ownership of Threshers, Manure Spread- 
ers, Mowers, Stalk Cutters, etc. — Co-operation in Marketing 
Cotton Seed — A Clover Huller Success — A Club That Owns 
a Registered Bull — Last and Best of All, Co-operative 
Produce Marketing 

LET me give a few examples of what some farmers' 
clubs I know are doing. To begin with, here is a 
_^ letter from the secretary of a local farmers' union 
in a neighborhood I visited recently, which shows 
exactly what ten thousand farmers' clubs and ten thousand 
rural neighborhoods all over the country ought to be doing 
all the time. This is what the secretary wrote me : 

"Broadway Union, No. 1089, has twenty-three members, and we 
have been doing things this year. We have bought for cash $1,850 
worth of fertilizers, a threshing outfit at a cost of $750, lime and fer- 
tilizer distributor, and have bought together what grain we had to buy. 

"We have a progressive neighborhood and our people believe in 
co-operation. For instance, two of our members own a manure 
spreader and two other members own a wheat drill. They all four 
use the two machines. Therefore each man gets the use of these two 
machines at one-fourth the cost of each man owning a separate ma- 
chine — and if taken care of, a machine will last just as long with four 
using it as one, for the less a machine is used, the more it will rust. 

"We have several binders in our local, each owned by two or more 
individuals, and several mowers and rakes owned the same way. Five 
own a stalk cutter, and five own a steel roller. Our neighborhood is 
thickly settled, and it is almost as convenient to own such machines iti 
co-operation, as mentioned, as to own them separately, and a good deal 
more convenient to our pocketbooks sometimes !" 

This practical test of co-operation in the purchase o£ 


improved farm machinery is better worth attention than 
any theoretical argument against the workableness of the 
idea, such as one of my friends recently put forth. Of 
course, there should be a definite understanding in the very 
beginning as to the rules which will be observed by the 
joint owners, and these rules should be set down m writing. 
For example, it should be prescribed ; 

(i) That the machine should be kept under cover when 
not in use. 

(2) That a member should pay for any breakage occur- 
ring while in his care. Of course, if a broken part was par- 
tially worn out when the member took it, he should pay 
only the depreciated value of the portion broken. 

(3) That in case more than one member should wish the 
use of a machine at a time, members shall take first choice 
in rotation. Suppose, for example, there are four members. 
The simplest and most easily remembered plan is to let the 
man who has first choice in the beginning have second 
choice the second time, third choice the third time, fourth 
choice the fourth time, while the fifth time he would begin 
first again and repeat as just indicated. The plan would 
give all an absolutely equal deal in the long run, each man 
having exactly the same number of first, second, third and 
fourth choices as follows: 

»T.„r,.^T.^»„,,^„ / HIS CHOICE ON EACH OCCASION — ^> 

NAME OF FARMER First time Second time Tliird time Fourth time 

Farmer A 1st 2d 3d 4th 

Farmer B 2d 3d 4th 1st 

Farmer C 3d 4th 1st 2d 

Farmer D 4th 1st 2d 3d 

In the next place, a good example of how collective mar- 
keting of produce pays is afforded by the Mecklenburg 
County, N. C, Farmers' Union. Up to five years ago the 
farmers had received only 1,400 pounds of meal in ex- 
change for each ton of seed. The Union farmers then voted 
to hold their seed and to put them back in the ground if the 

SOME farmers' clubs I HAVE KNOWN, AND THEIR WORK 65 

mills would not give them a "ton of meal for a ton of seed." 
The non-Union farmers decided they would get some of 
the benefits the Union held out for them, and began hold- 
ing, too. The result was that in about two months' time 
the mills surrendered to the farmers' demands. 

This plan held good for two years, but at last the 
mills took advantage of the farmers' indifference and re- 
duced to i,8oo pounds the quantity of meal they would 
give in exchange for a ton of seed. 

Thereupon, however, the farmers revolted again, and 
planned an even more effective pooling arrangement than 
before. The Union members began consigning their seed 
to their county business agent and he very quickly ob- 
tained terms of even exchange — "a ton of meal for a ton of 
seed" — from the Mecklenburg mills. 

Another fine illustration of how the members of a local 
club can work together came to light when I was on a 
visit to my old home county a short time ago. 

Seeing that clover seed were so high, and that the land 
needed clover so badly, a group of farmers there got to- 
gether and subscribed $500 — fifty shares at $10 each — to 
buy a clover huller. Then at the right season they hired 
a traction engine to take it from place to place (just as 
they would a wheat thresher), and set it up at some man's 
barn staying two or three days and doing the work for 
him and all his clover-growing neighbors. They charged 
four cents a pound for hulling crimson clover, and five 
cents a pound for red, making it cost $2.40 a bushel to hull 
the crimson clover seed and $3 the red — not a big charge in 
view of the fact that crimson clover seed were then selling 
at the neighboring store at $10 a bushel and the red at $18 
to $20. One farmer took over his crop to be hulled, say- 
ing, "I reckon this pile ought to hull me out a bushel of 
seed, and that's $3," and found instead that he had six 
bushels and his bill was $18! At first he felt like he was 
bankrupted until he recalled that he could sell his product 
for about $100! 


Now all sorts of good results have followed this experi- 
ment in co-operation. Best of all, all the farmers round 
about are growing clover as never before, and last spring 
it was a joy to ride over beautiful fields knee deep in clover 
where they were formerly bleak and barren. But more 
than that the scheme paid — paid like a gold mine. When 
the managers wound up the season's business, they found 
they had paid all expenses and had a handsome dividend 
for every stockholder. In fact, the profits were so good 
that this year the price of hulling will be reduced. 

When away over in the Blue Ridge Mountains a few 
weeks ago the news that came to me as to the activities 
of the local Union there was that its members had joined 
together and bought a pure-bred bull. Now, if other locals 
in the same county will go a step together and add the 
co-operation of groups of farmers to the co-operation of 
individual farmers, the problem will be solved. Only re- 
cently we came across a farmer's complaint to the effect 
that farm papers are always telling farmers to get pure- 
bred cattle, whereas he said nine-tenths of them are too 
poor to buy the high-priced sires. But the remedy, as Mr. 
H. W. Collingwood pointed out to the farmer-critic, lies 
in the co-operative breeding associations so popular in 
Europe : 

"Half a dozen neighbors combine and buy a good bull. The cost to each 
one is not large, and the bull can be used in several herds. This works 
out well in parts of Wisconsin. After the bull has been used three 
years there will be found another community ready to change, so that 
new blood can be used. In this way and through this form of co- 
operation farmers who could not afford to buy a first-class bull alone 
may combine and thus obtain the best. This is no dream or theory — 
it is being worked out in many communities where farmers have 
learned to combine their efforts and live and let live. It is just an- 
other illustration of the fact that poor, individual farmers may find 
some relief from their hard necessities by co-operation." 

The writer is also a stockholder in a very interesting 
farmers' marketing association promoted by a local club. 

SOME farmers' clubs I HAVE KNOWN, AND THEIR WORK 67 

The whole plan, in fact, of this particular marketing as- 
sociation seems to me to deserve the most careful con- 
sideration of farmers ever)rwhere. The movement had its 
origin when a group of farmers, being much disadvantaged 
in marketing their produce, got together and agreed on an 
experimental form of co-operative marketing. The plan in 
brief was this : 

1. One member was employed (with his team) to take 
the produce of all members to town twice a week. 

2. Three central concentration points along the route 
(homes of members) were agreed upon, say about two 
miles apart, at which the farmer members were to collect 
their stuff. In applying this principle, we will suppose, 
for example, that there is a group of farmers along a mar- 
ket route running from three to nine miles from the town. 
Well, the farmers will agree to have three central stations 
— one eight, one six, and one four miles from the market. 
The night before the selling agent is to make his trip to 
market each farmer will take whatever he has to sell to 
the nearest concentration or collection point. 

3. For this service the selling agent was paid a commis- 
sion of 15 per cent on all sales. 

Now, let us see how this plan worked. It naturally had 
three important results. 

First of all, the farmers got their stuff on the market for 
half the former cost. Previously, if a farmer had a dozen 
cabbage, or a couple of hams, or half a dozen chickens, 
or two dozen eggs, he had to make the trip himself or 
send a hand in order to effect a sale. The cost of market- 
ing might absorb all the profits of the sale. Certainly the 
cost of marketing under this method was not half the 
average cost under the old individual method of marketing ; I 
suspect that one-third would be a more accurate estimate. 

In the second place, farmers marketed much stuff that 
would never have been marketed at all with the policy of 
having every farmer act as his own salesman — could never 
have been profitably marketed at all. For example, for- 


merly a farmer might have had a bushel of peas, or three 
dozen tomatoes, or a half bushel of lima beans. He would 
naturally have said, "I can't make a trip to town just to 
take them," and thus would have left this surplus product 
to rot; whereas under the plan we are considering he 
could easily have sent it a mile to the nearest collection 
station for the selling agent to market next day. So the 
co-operative marketing plan not only cuts the cost of mar- 
keting in half, but it converts into money many surplus 
products on the farm that would, in fact, never be marketed 
at all under other conditions. 

In the third place, the selling agent being employed for 
a large part of his time and marketing a great variety of 
stuff, naturally keeps up with prices as it is impossible for 
the individual farmer to do. Go into your nearest city 
tomorrow and you may find farmers selling eggs or 
chickens or apples at half a dozen different prices. The 
farmer who has only a dollar's worth or so of produce 
cdnnot take time to find out the real market value of the 
product, but a regular selling agent can. 

Moreover, the selling agent, because he makes regular 
trips and has fresher stuff, can easily develop a regular line 
of customers as the individual farmer could not; and, 
finally, the selling agent can, in a measure, grade his prod- 
ucts himself (with certain handicaps owing to variety of 
ownership), and can easily teach his patrons the value of 

This plan as tested out a year ago had such advantages 
that a larger and better system is now being developed. 
Instead of having one of the members give two days a 
week to the work, a man is to be employed to give all his 
time to it. A co-operative stock company (with dividends 
payable on patronage) has been organized and the further 
details may be quoted from the following official circular 
setting forth the plan of organization : 

SOME farmers' clubs I HAVE KNOWN, AND THEIR WORK 69 

"The necessary stock having been subscribed, the stockholders- 
would meet and effect a permanent organization by electing such 
officers as would be needed for conducting the business — President, 
Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and a Board of Directors. The 
Board of Directors would elect a Manager, who would conduct the 
business under their direction. The Board of Directors would define 
the Manager's duties and pass on all operating expenses before being^ 

"The Board of Directors should rent a storeroom or warehouse at 
the basing point, where the Manager could have an office and ample 
room for storage and handling the business. They should employ a. 
competent man for his full time to collect and market the produce for 
the members. 

"Ample equipment should be provided by the Board of Directors 
for carrying on the business and should consist of spring wagon, 
harness, auto wagon, etc., for collecting the products on the routes, 
and for marketing these products as rapidly as possible. 

"Also refrigerator butter crates, milk cans, etc., needed for han- 
dling perishable goods in warm weather, also whatever office fixtures- 
necessary for keeping accounts, etc. 

"Routes should be established from the basing point covering the 
territory where the patrons reside, and should go to or near their 
homes. These routes can be provided to serve the territory north,, 
east, south and west of Harrisburg. Collections and marketing can 
be done on alternate days, making one collection a week on each 
route, and marketing three days each week. 

"After all expenses, including salaries, interest, rents, incidental 
expenses, etc., have been paid from the profits, and there is still a 
surplus on hand, it should be pro-rated among the patrons according: 
to the amount of products they have furnished the association. Mr. 
A. furnishes twice the value of products as Mr. B., therefore he shares 
twice as great in the division of this extra profit. 

How Patrons Are Paid for Products 

"The collector will give each patron a ticket for whatever products, 
he collects from him each trip, and take a duplicate ticket back to the 
office. The Manager keeps an itemized account for each patron, every 
two weeks he sends his patrons cash or check for the products fur- 
nished the association for the two-week period preceding. The patron, 
having his tickets given him by the collector, can at a glance tell 
whether his pay is correct or not. Any mistake can easily be detected 
and rectified at once." 



Thirteen Principles of Successful Co-operation That Should 
Never Be Ignored — How to Get a Charter — A General 
Form of By-Laws Which May Be Varied to Suit Local 

THE writer is constantly receiving requests as to 
how to organize a co-operative society, how such 
a company should be incorporated, and what 
should be the form of by-laws, etc. There are 
undoubtedly many communities where farmers would like 
to start some co-operative effort, but they delay the mat- 
ter a great while, or indefinitely, simply because no pro- 
spective member has had any experience in organizing or 
incorporating a company. They merely lack information 
as to how to begin. 

Perhaps in the very beginning we should call attention 
to some fundamental rules that should be accepted in form- 
ing a co-operative society (rules based on the long and 
varied experience of great numbers of co-operative groups), 
unless clearly unsuited to local conditions. This statement 
of the fundamental principles of co-operation, which orig- 
inated in slightly different form, with the Right Relation- 
ship League, I believe, is as follows : 

1. That each shareholder shall have only one vote, regardless of the 
number of shares held. No proxy voting shall be allowed. 

2. That shares shall be of low denomination ($10 or $5 being com- 
mon figures) and may be paid in small installments, if necessary. 

3. That the association may have the prior right to purchase shares 
■when the owner wishes to sell. 

4. That all goods and produce shall be bought and sold on the cash 
system and at prevailing prices. Cutting prices is discouraged. 



5. That before paying dividends a sufficient amount shall be al- 
lowed for the depreciation of stock, fixtures and buildings. 

6. That a small surplus may be set aside for enlargement, or as a 
reserve for a less prosperous season. 

7. That a small amount, say 2 per cent of net profits, may be set 
aside for educational purposes to promote a better understanding of 
the cardinal principles of co-operation, its ethical and economical bene- 
fits, etc. 

8. That capital stock shall be paid a certain fixed and reasonable 
rate of interest, usually only the legal rate. 

9. That the remaining profits shall be divided among the members 
and customers in proportion to their patronage. 

10. That one-half as much dividends shall be paid to non-members 
as to members on patronage. 

11. That the door shall not be shut in the face of any eligible and 
worthy applicant for membership. No matter if you have become too 
prosperous to really need further stockholders, he should have the 
right to purchase one share of stock and become a member. This is 
true brotherhood. 

13. Except in rare cases, a new co-operative enterprise, whether 
store, creamery, warehouse, elevator, cannery or what not, should not 
be started in a community where enough such enterprises already exist 
to serve the people amply. Instead, the prospective co-operators should 
bide their time and buy out some existing enterprise when the owners 
are willing to sell at a reasonable price. 

13. All agreements, contracts, understandings, etc., should be put 
into writing, and in case of disagreement at any time the matter should 
be settled by arbitration, each side selecting an arbitrator and these 
two arbitrators agreeing on a third man to act with them. 

And now as to getting your organization into legal shape. 
Of course, there are many general lines of co-operation, 
such as the buying of supplies without a store or ware- 
house, or the selling of farm products on a small scale, 
which can usually be safely carried on without incorporat- 
ing a company. If you are going to undertake any really 
important line of co-operation, however, the first thing to 
do is to get a meeting of interested persons, name a tem- 
porary chairman and secretary, and proceed with discus- 
sion to ascertain if it is advisable to go into the proposed 
business, and if so, then the advisability of incorporating 
as a regular company. 


At this point we cannot do better than to quote the 
language of Professor Camp, now chief of the marketing 
division of the North Carolina Experiment Station, whose 
previous experience in California, Illinois and Missouri has 
given him a wide outlook, with whom the writer has made 
some of the investigations recorded in this book, and whose 
aid we have sought in the preparation of this chapter: 

"The advantages of incorporating a co-operative associa- 
tion should then be discussed," Professor Camp says. "It 
should be made clear that incorporation means that the 
members will not be liable for the debts of the association 
beyond the amount of the subscribed capital. Before 
finally deciding to incorporate, three or more should be 
appointed on a committee to canvass the section to see if 
a sufficient number are interested in becoming stockhold- 
ers to warrant the formation of an incorporated associa- 
tion. The same committee should gather information as to 
the probable amount of business that may be done and as to 
the probable cost per unit of business transacted. When 
the committee is ready to report a second meeting should 
be called. All of those especially interested should be in- 
vited to attend. If the committee reports that the number 
of those who may be expected to subscribe is ample and 
the business in prospect is sufficient, application should be 
made to the Secretary of State for a blank certificate of 
incorporation. This blank must be filled out in order to 
secure a charter for doing business as a corporation. 

"In filling out this blank, it is well to make the expressed 
objects for the formation of your organization sufficiently 
broad to include any possible line of business which you 
may at any time later wish to undertake. You will then 
be able to buy or sell or manufacture any products which 
may later seem advisable without going to the expense of 
getting a new charter. 

"The certificate of incorporation of the United Fruit 
Growers of Western North Carolina, North Wilkesboro, 
N. C, has a broad statement of the objects of a fruit 


growers' corporation, which may be taken as a good ex- 
ample for farmers in other lines. The objects for which 
this corporation is formed are stated as follows: 

" 'To buy and sell fruits, vegetables, meat, stock and all products of 
and necessities for Western North Carolina, both fresh and manufac- 
tured; to erect, operate and maintain canning and packing factories, 
cider- vinegar generators, and commission houses; to manufacture and 
grow any and all. products of Western North Carolina ; to erect, op- 
erate and maintain ice plants and cold storage, and to engage in such 
other business as pertains to the fruit and truck growing of Western 
North Carolina.' 

"The shares had better be made as small as $5 or $10 
each, so that the poorest farmer may take at least one share. 
The amount of funds with which the association may begin 
business — that is to say, the paid-in capital stock as dis- 
tinguished from the authorized — may be large or small ac- 
cording to the nature of the business. The amount of the 
authorized or maximum possible capital stock may be 
made any sum from $5,000 to $100,000, or more. The cap- 
ital may be increased in the manner and to the amount 
the directors may deterniine as the need arises. If the 
desire is to begin business on as small a scale as possible 
the amount of capital need not be large. If supplies are to 
be largely purchased upon orders which have been pre- 
viously gathered together from the members, the expense 
may be apportioned to each member according to the 
amount of purchases. In the case of the sale of products, 
the organization may act as the agent of the growers at a 
fixed rate of commission, which shall cover all expenses. 
In this way it 4s possible to get along with a very small 
working capital. On the other hand, if the paid-in capital 
can be made larger than the actual necessities of equip- 
ment and operation, the surplus may be deposited in a 
bank. This will help to establish the credit of the organ- 

The next question that comes up is as to what the by- 
laws shall be, and on this point Professor Camp and the writer 


have consulted the experience of a great variety of co- 
operative societies. In the Appendix I am printing two 
model forms, which will be found useful in preparing the 
forms for almost any co-operative organization. These 
forms may be varied, of course, to meet the wishes of any 
group of co-operators, but they include certain fundamen- 
tal features of successful co-operation which should not be 
lightly disregarded, such as patronage dividends, "one man, 
one vote," etc., explained in our thirteen rules already 

The set of by-laws first given in the Appendix are based 
chiefly on a model recommended by the Wisconsin Board 
of Public Affairs and on the by-laws of the Catawba Co- 
operative Creamery. 

The second set of by-laws Dr. John Lee Coulter picked 
out from among dozens as the finest sort of model for 
farmers to adopt. This model is the form used by the highly 
successful and efficient Lakefield Farmers' Co-operative 
Elevator Company of Lakefield, Minnesota; and, as will 
be seen, it can be varied to meet the needs of almost any 
form of farmers' co-operative society. Furthermore, as 
Dr. Coulter points out, these by-laws show in a concrete 
way the actual experience of this farmers' company. It 
started out as a pure corporation, calling itself "co-opera- 
tive," but finally, as shown by the last clauses, amended its 
rules and regulations and adopted the purely co-operative 



Twelve Forms of Co-operation in One Community — How It 
All Started — Pastor Lundberg a Power for Progress — The 
Mysterious Way He Paid His Note — The Co-operative 
Store and How the Town Merchants Got Gloriously Licked 
When They Tried to Crush It. 

SVEA, Minnesota, so far as I know, is the finest ex- 
ample of co-operative community effort in America, 
the finest example extant of farmers getting together 
and pulling together as one man to build up the 
neighborhood, not only in everything affecting their work 
and business, but in everything affecting the social life, the 
intellectual and educational development, and even the 
moral standards of the community. 

Svea, as I found with equal surprise and gratification 
when I visited it, is an absolutely pure and unadulterated 
country neighborhood, ten miles from a railroad station, 
and there is no village at all except the postoffice and the 
offices of the farmers' co-operative enterprises and the homes 
of their managers. Untouched by town influences, there- 
fore, these Svea farmers are working out their high destiny, 
and are showing the whole world what farmers can do, 
aided only by intelligence, neighborliness, energy and stick- 
to-it-iveness. In Svea they have established and operated 
thus far without one single failure^ — 

1. A co-operative creamery. 

2. A co-operative telephone company. 

3. A co-operative grain elevator. 

4. A co-operative live stock shipping association. 



5. A co-operative store, 

6. A co-operative insurance company. 

7. A co-operative bank (now forming). 

Moreover, they also have as a result of what we may 
term co-operative effort — 

8. A thoroughly equipped high school, with agricultural 
and domestic science teaching. 

9. A consolidated church with a resident pastor. 
ID. A school library and a State traveling library. 

11. Neighborhood social meetings three times a month 
under church influences. 

12. They have "made their neighborhood a reading neigh- 
borhood." Almost every farmer takes two to four farm 
papers and other reading matter in proportion. 

In other words, the Svea farmers have become "business 
men" as surely as commercial men in the towns are busi- 
ness men, and are doubling their profits as a resUt, while 
thfey are at the same time developing a high degree of cul- 
ture and that satisfying social life without which mere 
money is valueless, while also maintaining those moral and 
spiritual influences which town life tends to destroy. 

And the most glorious fact about it all is that by adapting 
the business enterprises to local conditions, and following 
the example of Svea with regard to social, intellectual and 
moral influences, almost any rural neighborhood can win 
for itself the increased profits, the added culture and the rich 
social life which the wise farmers of Svea have shown how 
to win. 

The first co-operative enterprise begun by the Svea farm- 
ers was the creamery started in 1896. Most of the mem- 
bers had been conspicuous in the Farmers' 'Alliance move- 
ment several years before; and failing in their effort to 
better their condition by means of legislation, they set out 
to see what they could do by means of self-help. The sec- 
tion being well adapted to dairying, and many of the farm- 
ers being dairymen in a small way, they naturally took to 
the creamery idea first, especially as the prices paid for 


butter had been running low. Mrs. A. O. Nelson, wife of 
one of the co-operative pioneers, in whose home I stopped, 
says her mother years ago sold butter for five cents a 
pound, and Mr. Nelson says his father sold it for three 
cents — and took pay in calico! "But I do not blame the 
merchants," he explained, fair-minded man that he is, in 
making the statement. "Three cents was about all that 
the butter was worth to them, because they had no dis- 
tribution and there was no grading as to quality, but it was 
all dumped into a barrel together and sold as grease." 

The co-operative creamery in Svea, and elsewhere in the 
Northwest, therefore, like the co-operative creameries in 
Denmark and Ireland, came not only to save farmers the 
profits previously paid to middlemen, but to create new 
profits: (i) by guaranteeing quality — genuine, money- 
compelling, profit-insuring quality — for the farmers' prod- 
ucts, and (2) by providing a scientific, businesslike sys- 
tem of finding profitable markets and of satisfying and even 
gratifying these markets when found. Instead of three or 
five cents a pound for butter, the Svea farmer now gets 
30 to 35 cents a pound without any further expense for 
marketing, and shares in whatever profits the creamery 

I might also as well say now as later that this creamery, 
and practically all the other Svea co-operative enterprises 
are conducted on the true Rochdale co-operative plan. 
That is to say, they never pay more than legal interest 
on capital stock, and divide profits upon the basis of patron- 
age, paying farmers who are not shareholders only one- 
half the rate paid shareholders. But any patron may be- 
come a shareholder by subscribing for a small share of 

That there is nothing like one success to inspire con- 
fidence in attempting another, we all know; and it was 
only natural that after getting on so well with the creamery 
from 1896 to 1900, the Svea farmers in the latter year seized 


an opportunity to take over the local telephone system and 
put it on a co-operative basis — another undertaking which 
has proved a thoroughgoing triumph. To the general pub- 
lic, low rates were given and to shareholders still lower 
rates, with the result that probably ninety out of one hun- 
dred of the farm homes in the country have local and long- 
distance connections with both their farmer neighbors and 
their city neighbors, and with all the world outside. "The 
only man I ever knew without a telephone," said one Svea 
citizen to me, "is a fellow below the hill there, and he is no 
man at all." 

In establishing the Svea co-operative telephone system, 
as in all similar attempts at co-operation there for years, 
a plumed knight in the ranks of progress, a leader whose 
great influence always told mightily for good, was Rev. 
J. O. Lundberg, the pastor of the Swedish Lutheran 
Church — a man whose memory will always be cherished by 
the people he loved and served. 

Pastor Lundberg was one of those preachers — alas, yet 
too rare — who recognized the fact that it is the purpose of 
religion to bring God's radiant kingdom to this old earth 
as well as reveal to us a future kingdom in the New 
Jerusalem, and that the only practical active way to serve 
the Lord here is to serve His creatures. His substitutes, in 
fact, of whom He has said: "Inasmuch as ye have done 
it to the least of these, ye have done it unto me." Pastor 
Lundberg did not interpret with any silly literalism, for 
example, the injunction to feed the hungry, but he believed 
that he should encourage the agencies that would keep 
men from want and hunger as well as relieve them after 
they had become hungry; and he recognized, too, the fur- 
ther fact that hunger for a richer social, intellectual and 
community life should be relieved as surely as hunger for 
material bread and meat. So the co-operative telephone 
system, for instance, which has brought happiness in and 
driven loneliness out from the lives of scores and hundreds 
of Svean farm women — this system owes much to the in- 


fluence of the Lutheran pastor who showed his interest by- 
becoming from the first an officer of the company. In fact, 
there are some who say that the whole wonderful develop- 
ment of the co-operative spirit in Svea had its beginning- 
when the farmers, regardless of minor sectarian differences, 
decided to come together and support one strong, powerful 
church with a resident pastor to lead and serve all right- 
eous causes in the community. 

At any rate. Pastor Lundberg, giving his personal aid 
and the aid of his church to every movement for bettering 
the community — socially, educationally, intellectually, in- 
dustrially — became an example of what a consecrated and 
forceful preacher can do; and when the farmers, in 1909, 
decided that they ought to go a step further and establish 
a co-operative store, it is not surprising to learn that, 
though without ready money, he was one of the first 
to subscribe for $100 in stock, by giving a promissory note 
in payment. The store, of course, was operated on the 
Rochdale plan, paying only 6 per cent on stock and divid- 
ing all other profits on the basis of patronage — that is to 
say, if the company made profits enough, it would pay back 
shareholders, say, $8 for each $100 worth of goods they 
purchased, and non-shareholders $4 for each $100 pur- 
chased by them — and what happened to Pastor Lundberg's 
promissoiry note is a fine illustration of the store's success. 
Ten months after the store started, though he hadn't paid 
in a cent on his share, the management checked up ac- 
counts with him and found that his dividends on his trade 
amounted to enough to pay the $100 note, the 6 per cent 
interest on it, and $44.60 besides. A somewhat similar 
experience was that given me by Mr. A. J. Abbott: "I 
bought two shares at $105 each on credit, and in eighteen 
months my dividends had paid for one of them, leaving 
me only one to settle for." 

Several factors have contributed to the success of the 
Svea Co-operative Store. To begin with, the members 
did not make the primary and fundamental mistake of 


establishing a new store, thereby adding to the already 
excessively large number of middlemen. On the contrary, 
they (i) bought out the existing store at Svea — even 
though the owner did sell to them a little reluctantly perhape. 
(2) They employed a thoroughly competent manager, for 
the manager's efficiency is half the battle. (3) They paid 
him a good salary, for the co-operators boast that "We pay 
higher salaries than privately owned stores." (4) They 
established a strict and business-like system of auditing and 
accounting. (5) They went into the plan with character- 
istic Swedish dogged persistence, resolved to stick to it for 
better or worse. 

The supreme test to their loyalty came about two years 
ago when the town merchants of Willmar, the county seat, 
ten miles from Svea, aided and inspired by the old Svea 
merchant the co-operators had bought out, decided it was 
time to break up this high-handed independence the farmers 
were showing. 

Not only had these countrymen established a co-opera- 
tive creamery, telephone system, store and stock shipping 
association, but they had gone into Willmar and estab- 
lished a farmers' co-operative grain elevator in opposition 
to the capitalist-owned elevators already operating. It was 
surely time to do something, the Willmar merchants de- 
cided — time either to make terms with the embattled farm- 
ers or organize, fight and conquer them; and, ill-advised, 
they decided upon the latter policy. Pooling their interests 
and putting up the necessary capital, they rented the old 
Svea store building the co-operators had moved out of, 
put a clever and capable manager and a fine stock of goods 
into it, and set out to "put the co-operative store out of 
business." This was planned, in fact, as the beginning of 
the end of the whole co-operative movement. "They 
wanted to break up our store and our creamery and our 
elevator and our stock shipping association, one and all," 
says Mr. A. O. Nelson. "The only thing they figured on 
leaving us was our preacher." 


But the Willmar merchants had reckoned without their 
hosts. They had flung a red flag in the bull's face, and 
what the Svea folks did to their anti-co-operative store was 
enough. The manager was a clever and capable man, as I 
have said, but he not only did not get patronage, he did not 
even get a chance to explain what terms he would make on 
patronage — that is to say, not to any of the co-operators. 
"Did he cut prices on you? Did he try to break up your 
co-operative store by underselling you?" my friend Mr. 
Green asked Mr. Nelson as we talked. "That's what we 
don't know," was Mr. Nelson's reply, "because we never 
bought anything from him to find out !" 

The women had up their fighting blood even more de- 
cidedly than the men. "The manager was a verra nice man 
and had a mighty sweet wife," a co-operator's wife ex- 
plained to me, "and I was sorry for his wife, but still we 
never invited her to visit us because we did not want to be 
under obligations to them and we thought the quicker they 
left the better." 

But the Svea co-operators did not stop with their own 
passive resistance or their wives' passive ostracism — they 
resolved to carry the war into Africa. "Since these Willmar 
merchants have come down here fighting us because of our 
little store," they said, "we'll give them something worth 
worrying about." The Svea co-operators met and resolved 
not only to stick to their Svea enterprise, but to establish, 
if possible, a co-operative store in Willmar itself. "Three 
hundred dollars was voted for organization expenses," as 
one Svea woman said to me, "and then a good many of us 
shivered, for we didn't know what would happen." It was, 
indeed, a bold stroke, but it won. A new $20,600 co-opera- 
tive store was started in Willmar, one of the merchants 
there selling to the farmers and hiring to them as manager ; 
the opposition store at Svea, a dreary and hopeless failure, 
soon had to close its doors; and since then both Svea and 
Willmar co-operative enterprises have waxed strong and 
powerful. The Svea store last year after putting 10 per 


cent of its profits into a reserve fund, paid a 6 per cent 
dividend on member's patronage (that is to say, returned 
stockholders six cents for each dollar they had traded dur- 
ing the year), and paid half as much or around 3 per cent 
to non-shareholders, while 'the Willmar store paid 12 per 
cent to stockholders and 6 per cent to non-members. 



Education the Foundation — The Community Church and Its 
"Coffee Socials" — Why the Co-operative Store Succeeded — 
The Farmers' Grain Elevator and Its Fight with the "Trust" 
— An Appeal to the Reader 

I AM going to stop right in the middle of my story of 
the wonderful success of co-operation in Svea to tell 
what I believe is the chief secret of its wonderful suc- 
cess in this Minnesota farm neighborhood. That 
secret is nothing more nor less than education, education, 
education — and a willingness to pay any price necessary to 
get adequate educational facilities for the community. When 
I asked Mr. A. O. Nelson, the hustling, red-headed, wide-awake 
leader of co-operation in Svea, what was their rural 
school tax, he almost struck me dumb when he answered 
promptly : 

"Seventeen mills, or $1.70 on the $100 of property!" 
Of course, this is something unusual. It is, in fact, 
nearly double the local school tax even Svea folks usually 
pay. Two or three years ago, however, they decided they 
wanted a handsome new building with industrial features — 
agriculture for the boys and domestic science for the girls — 
together with transportation of pupils living over two miles 
from the school (two miles in a blizzardy Minnesota win- 
ter is easily the equivalent of four miles in the South) ; 
and so $1.70 on each $100 worth of property was the tax 
they voted, although they had only one school organiza- 
tion to keep up. Our Southern communities with two sep- 
arate school systems to maintain frequently boast them- 



selves mightily for voting a thirty-cent tax on themselves. 

Eight months term a year with two teachers — a man who 
teaches agriculture, a woman who teaches domestic science ; 
compulsory attendance from eight to sixteen; free text 
books for all pupils; a good school library; reproductions 
of noted pictures on the wall — all these the farm parents 
of Svea have provided for their boys and girls, and they 
are arranging to have an eight-acre school farm as well. 

Moreover, education in Svea is not confined to the young 
people. Education, in fact, cannot be confined to the 
period of youth, but the truly educated man must go on 
learning all his life — like the old man of 76 years old who 
attended a short course at the Danish agricultural school 
I visited one summer. If a man has had poor school ad- 
vantages, he can nevertheless educate himself by reading 
plenty of the right kind of books and papers — ^the right 
kind, be sure ; and no matter if a man has been highly edu- 
cated in the schools, he must read much if he is to get real 
dividends and benefits from his early training. The farm- 
ers of Svea realized this, and another secret of their success 
leaked out when I asked the mail carrier if most farmers on 
his route took a farm paper. 

"Well, I should say," was his reply. "Two or three farm 
papers on an average ; most of them take three or four." 

Most of them read books, too. Not only is there a school 
library, but a State-supported traveling library also en- 
larges their intellectual horizon ; and only a few feet from 
the door where I met the mail carrier, I saw this sign 
posted up : 

Minnesota Traveling Library — Free to All 

This library is now located at Svea, Minn. Open to the 
public Monday until Saturday from 8.00 a. m. till 9 p. m 

Lottie B. Nelson, Librarian. 

WHY can't you have A NEIGHBORHOOD LIKE SVEA? 85 

In addition to having the good sense to provide excellent 
schools for their children, the Svea farmers have had the 
great good fortune to be free from denominational faction- 
alism. There was not much difference in belief among 
them anyhow, so instead of having two or three half-dying 
churches, each with a monthly meeting and a handful of 
members, they have one strong church which largely shapes 
the life of the neighborhood, moral and social. 

Consider, for example, how greatly the life of the com- 
munity has been enriched and sweetened by the justly 
popular "coffee socials," as they are called, held three times 
monthly at the homes of members in rotation. These 
meetings are usually held on Wednesday afternoon from 
2 to 5 o'clock, and fifty to one hundred of the neighbor- 
folk, both old and young, are likely to attend. Light re- 
freshments are served; there are songs and stories, games 
and gossip, a talk perhaps by one of the men, or an essay 
by one of the women, or ice cream to be sold for church 
purposes. Such is a typical program; and while most of 
the older married folks go home about 5 o'clock, some of 
the younger ones and a few of their elders are likely to 
remain for the evening. 

Naturally enough, the pretty schoolgirl who told me 
most of these "coffee socials" not only had some enthu- 
siasm for them herself, but added, "My mamma goes to 
every one that comes." We need such meetings all over 
our farming sections to vary the monotony of toil for both 
old and young, men and women, and where one country 
church is not strong enough to support them, why shouldn't 
two or more churches drop their differences long enough 
to co-operate in working out some such plan as I have 
described? That a community is much bettered by having 
its social life under such elevating influences as surround 
the Svea "coffee socials" goes without saying. 

From my consideration of the social and educational life 
of this Minnesota country community, however, I must 
now get back to the question of their work in practical 


business co-operation. When I left off in the preceding 
chapter, I was telling of their interesting experience in 
maintaining their little co-operative store at Svea when the 
town merchants from Willmar joined together and tried 
to put it out of business and how the Svea folk, in retalia- 
tion, established one in Willmar itself, now perhaps the 
best paying store in that town. 

It should not be forgotten, however (i) that in neither 
case did the co-operating farmers start a new store; they 
simply bought out an old one ; (2) that in Svea the store 
succeeded so well because the members, having bought out 
the storekeeper who was there before, have a clear field, 
and have had it clear all the time except for the few 
months the Willmar-supported rival faced them; and (3) 
that the Willmar store could never have won the success 
it has achieved but for the fact that in addition to its hun- 
dred or more farmer-stockholder patrons, it has a hundred 
or more stockholders in town. In fact, it is likely that the 
town stockholders supply most of its trade. Paying a $5 
membership fee and subscribing for one or more shares 
of stock at $10 each (only legal interest is paid on stock) 
makgs one a shareholder, and inasmuch as stockholders get 
twice the dividends on patronage that non-stockholders 
get, it is not surprising that thirty men made haste to sub- 
scribe for stock just after the last patronage-dividend was 
declared, $12 being then returned to each shareholder and $6 
to each non-shareholder for each $100 worth of goods pur- 
chased in the preceding twelvemonth. 

The observation is also made both at Svea and Willmar 
that the co-operative stores on crowded days will hold cus- 
tomers that a regular merchant would lose. "I don't mind 
waiting for the rush business," a. farmer patron will often 
say with a smile-that- won't-come-off, "for I know the more 
business there is, the bigger will be my dividend next time." 

These stores are in honor bound to sell any patron at 
least one share of stock and make a member of him if he 
wishes. Some companies pay dividends to non-members 

WHY can't you have A NEIGHBORHOOD LIKE SVEA? 87 

in the shape of credit on stock until his dividends 
amount to enough to entitle him to a share, whereupon it 
is issued to him. Reference should also be made again to 
the importance of the monthly auditing of accounts under 
an especially efficient system worked out by the "Right 
Relationship League" of Minneapolis. No co-operative 
enterprise should ever be started anywhere without pro- 
viding for expert auditing. 

In the preceding chapter I also made a brief allusion to 
the co-operative grain elevator the Svea farmers estab- 
lished in 1910 at Willmar, which is their nearest shipping 
point. An elevator, it will be observed, has about the same 
relation to the wheat and barley industry of Minnesota that 
a warehouse has to the cotton industry in the South; it is 
the place where the product is stored and from which it is 
sold and shipped. 

Now at Willmar away back yonder in the days when the 
Alliance was at the height of its power, the farmers started 
a so-called "farmers' co-operative elevator" at Willmar, but 
inasmuch as it wasn't really co-operative, the 30 to 40 per 
cent profits it started out by making all went to the men 
who owned stock instead of the men who furnished the 
business, and the natural result was that profit-hunting 
city business men began to buy up the stock. The next 
and equally natural result was that the farmers said, "We 
are not going to patronize this sham concern just to pay 
big profits to the capitalist stockholders." So it lost busi- 
ness and had practically or actually died when the Svea 
farmers three years ago decided they would pay $950 for 
the building by itself and start the business again on the 
genuine co-operative, profits-to-patronage basis. In two 
years time, I was informed, the elevator on this $950 in- 
vestment has paid its patrons $5,000 in patronage-dividends 
besides paying three cents a bushel more for wheat ! 

A record like that is certainly well calculated to make 
other Western farmers decide to organize and fight the 
elevator trust which has too long had everything its own 


way in many western towns. Not a few of these trust 
companies were "born in sin and conceived in iniquity" 
anyhow, and have a sinister record from start to finish. 

C. B. Williams, a well-known Minnesota writer on co- 
operation, says: 

"To understand how this oppressive [elevator] monopoly could 
have been built up it is necessary to go back and see how the line 
houses had before this crushed out most of the independent dealers. 
The Peavy Company, for instance, between 1877 and 1898 secured con- 
trol of 800 elevators; Armours had 700; Councilman 150, and so on. 
The method was this: Charles Peavy, for instance, would go into a 
town and buy out or build an elevator for $5,000. This would be put 
into the Peavy Elevator Company for $11,000 of its stock. Five thou- 
sand dollars of this stock, enough to cover the real cost, would be sold 
out 'o outsiders, the $6,000, or controlling interest remaining in the 
hands of the company. Thus, in a little over twenty years, they se-« 
cured control of 800 elevators and $4,800,000 cash without the invest- 
ment of a dollar." 

A favorite device of the elevator trust has been to crush 
out any farmers' elevator by temporarily offering' in that 
town more than the market price for wheat, thereby taking 
all patronage away from the farmers' elevator and keeping 
this up long enough to throw the farmers' elevator into 
bankruptcy — ^the trust, of course, simply making good its 
losses by correspondingly reducing the price of wheat in 
towns where it had already crushed competition. This is 
one of the infamous trust practices that should be rigidly 
prohibited by law. 

Meanwhile to meet this competition the following plan 
has been proposed and in some cases tried out, and though 
its legality has been questioned in some other States, the 
Attorney-General of Wisconsin says it is thoroughly legal 
provided the agreement is written into the contracts with 
the farmer members. The plan is this: If the trust in 
Willmar, for example, decides to break down the farmers' 
elevator by paying four cents more a bushel for wheat than 
the market price (and, therefore, four cents more than the 
farmers' elevator can pay), the farmer co-operators are au- 
thorized to go ahead and sell their wheat to the trust but 

WHY can't you have A NEIGHBORHOOD LIKE SVEA? 89 

to turn over to their own elevator half their excess profits 
(that is to say, two cents a bushel), in order to pay its 
necessary expenses. A plan like this naturally does not 
please the trust very long. It accomplishes nothing toward 
crushing its rival, while the farmer members gain at the 
trust's expense. This is perhaps the most altogether de- 
lightful game that an exasperated people have ever "played 
back" on the trusts in return for the many cases of con- 
scienceless trickery we have suffered by their hands. 

At Willmar at one time since the co-operative elevator 
was organized the trust professed to pay the farmers two 
cents a bushel more for wheat, but docked them enough in 
grading, allowance for dirt, etc., to even up. At another 
time I learned from the co-operators' manager, barley was 
selling at $1.13 in Minneapolis, say lOO miles away, while 
the trust elevators in Willmar were ofifering only seventy- 
five or eighty cents a bushel. The farmers' elevator at once 
carried the price to $1 and $1.02. "Right now," Manager Sun- 
deine continued, "the trust elevators are paying three cents 
a bushel less for wheat at Priam and Raymond, the first 
and second stations west of here, where they have no com- 
petition, than they are paying at Willmar where the farm- 
ers are organized for business." 

There are many other things the Svea farmers have done 
that I should like to discuss, but I have told enough, no 
doubt, to make the reader wish his community had more 
of the Svea spirit. And if you, indeed, "covet earnestly 
these best gifts," kind reader, if you would like to have in 
your own neighborhood the business co-operation, the in- 
creased profits from your labor, the richer social life, the 
enlarged educational opportunities, the general spirit of 
comradeship, buoyancy and achievement that one finds in 
the Svea neighborhood, why not set out to improve the oppor- 
tunities that come to you? Your neighbors are readier to 
"go in" than you think — if you will only show some leader- 
ship and appeal to them to help you. 



Instead of Cutting Their Crops to Escape Disaster, Sparta 
Growers Decide to Co-operate and Do Their Own Market- 
ing — Something About the Success of Their Organization 
and Its "Big Stick" Methods — Gets Increased Profits by 
Knowing Market Conditions, Grading Carefully and Guar- 
anteeing Quality 

NEXT to the record of co-operation in the Svea, 
Minn., neighborhood, about the most interesting 
story of co-operation experience that I investi- 
_ gated in the Northwest was that of the Sparta 

Fruit Growers' Association of Sparta, Wis. And just as 
I shall always think of Mr. A. O. Nelson when I think 
of co-operation in the Minnesota community so I shall 
always think of Mr. W. H. Hanchett when I think of 

Mr. Hanchett is president of this Sparta Fruit Growers' 
Association and, in common parlance, a genuine "live 
wire." That's one characteristic of these Western co- 
operation leaders : they have enthusiasm for their jobs, and 
put fire and earnestness into what they have to say. 

Seventeen years ago the Sparta fruit growers first organ- 
ized, but it was only seven years ago that they really got 
on a business footing. Originally there were only 125 
shares at $2 each, but the bigger plans of the last seven 
years are indicated by the fact that there are now 3,000 
shares of $2 each held by the 302 members, and that the 
handsome building, the property of the association, in 



which I found President Hanchett and Secretary Richard- 
son, cost $14,000. With a capitalization of $6,000, the 
present assets of the company (after having paid increased 
profits to all members) indicate a surplus of $9,000. 

The Sparta farmers, like the farmers in many another 
community, might never have known the advantages of 
co-operation if they had not been forced to it. "Necessity 
is the mother of invention." Around Sparta a great many 
farmers were growing strawberries and it seemed to the 
growers that the local buyers had a secret understanding 
about prices. "My father was one of the pioneer berry 
growers," Mr. Hanchett told me, "and he used to spend 
an entire day getting rid of five or six crates at five cents 
a quart." Moreover, if the farmers shipped for themselves 
to Chicago, St. Paul, Milwaukee or Duluth, the reply might 
come back that the market there was glutted and that the 
freight charges had eaten up the receipts. Finally the 
farmers grew desperate and many said, "There has been 
an overproduction. Let's every man plow up half or two- 
thirds his berry acreage and plant to something else." 

But wiser and bolder men like President Hanchett said : 
"We shan't do anything of the kind. We have the natural 
conditions here that suit berry growing, we know that the 
cities are willing to pay a fair price for the stuff, and we are 
simply going to get into position to control distribution. 
We're going to get the profits that somebody else is partly 
making now, and the profits that are being lost to every- 
body by wasteful methods of packing and shipping." 

So the farmers came together and agreed that all mem- 
bers should turn over their entire berry product to the 
association, its officers to keep in touch with the market 
conditions in all the principal centers; control the car 
service; grade shipments; and divide profits among mem- 
bers after deducting expenses. Of course, the old-time 
berry buyers were wrathy and for a time they sought to 
get the local merchants to stand with them against this 
farmers' movement. But the co-operating farmers quickly 


checkmated this scheme. "We haven't been in favor of 
starting a co-operative store in Sparta; merchandising is 
not our business," they said to the merchants, "but we have 
a right to ship and handle our own berries and we are 
going to do it, and we are not going to buy our goods from 
folks who try to prevent us. You just be good, or we'll go 
further and start a co-operative store." Whereupon the 
merchants reported that the co-operative fruit growers' 
association was an excellent thing. 

But, of course, although I said in the last paragraph that 
"the farmers came together," not all of them came. They 
never do. There was one man, for example, who had a 
brother-in-law in a not distant city and he decided that he 
could make a few more pennies by staying out of the or- 
ganization. "Very well," the managers said, "but don't 
undersell us to get big orders for yourself. We are going 
to be reasonable and it will be much better for us all to 
hang together." This man, however, later seized a chance 
to engage his entire season's crop at so much a crate — a 
lower price than the association berries were selling for. 
"We resolved right then," said the association member who 
told me the story, "that the time had come for some 'high- 
handed trust methods', if you want to call them that. We 
found out what this man had done and proceeded to turn 
loose all our surplus crop right in his market. Prices 
dropped short off, his order was canceled, and since then, 
although he has never joined the association, he keeps step 
with us and makes prices in harmony with us." 

On another occasion some members were reported dis- 
loyal. To be specific, it was understood that they were 
willing to sell some of their extra early berries to regular 
buyers instead of turning them over to the association. 
Thereupon the association sent out a fake or decoy buyer 
and trapped several of them. The members so caught were 
at first expelled from the association, but were later re- 
instated, having gained nothing but exposure and con- 
tempt for their treachery. 


The Sparta managers have worked on the theory that 
the only way to succeed is to make the members afraid to 
break its rules, and non-members afraid to oppose its 
power. For example, President Hanchett went to the 
managers of the freight car service and said, "Now, our 
association will guarantee to use the freight cars we ask 
you to dispatch to Sparta for us. We demand that the 
non-association farmers must also guarantee to use the 
freight cars you send for their use, if they are to have the 
same low rates you give us." 

"We are always on the lookout for customers," said 
President Hanchett, "and Sparta berries not only go to 
.Chicago, St. Paul, Milwaukee and Duluth as formerly, but, 
also to Omaha, Kansas City, Des Moines, Fargo and Win- 
nipeg. Fruit dealers and grocers in the small towns are 
also cultivated by us, and are, in fact, our most profitable 
customers. We also get better prices from the consumers 
than farmers acting individually would ever have been 
able to get, because we guarantee quality, which means 
better service and increased values for these consumers. 
In the old days there were many partly-filled crates, and 
many crates 'with ripe fruit on top and unripe fruit at the 
bottom — and the buyer had no redress. But on every crate 
the Sparta association sends out, the grower's number is 
stamped, and the association is responsible for quality 
because it can locate and expel any member who swindles. 
Our grader, of course, is able only to sample occasional 
shipments here and there as they come in, but if any in- 
ferior fruit is brought in, the member must personally call 
the grader's attention to it, or risk the consequences." 

Mr. Hanchett further remarked that the agricultural au- 
thorities at Madison call the Sparta association a "double- 
barreled concern," because it works both on the capitalistic 
and co-operative principle. If a member comes in and 
wishes the association to handle his produce as an agent,, 
it will gladly do it, remitting him all the proceeds less a 
reasonable expense charge. That is to say, the profits in 


this case go to patronage. If, however, the member is 
timid and prefers to sell for cash at a price the association 
names or accepts, the association buys outright and the 
profits go to the stockholders. Two years ago the associa- 
ton bought up at 25 cents a bushel the neighborhood 
Duchess apple crop, for which little or no market had 
been found, and by grading and shipping in quantities 
cleared four or five hundred dollars. For potatoes on one 
occasion a price of 33 cents a bushel was realized when 
buyers had offered only 18 or 20 cents. The association 
also handles seeds and feedstuffs for farmers, and last year 
shipped five carloads of home-grown clover seed for farmer- 

Like all the other co-operative enterprises the Sparta 
company acts wholly in the open. "Any member can in- 
spect the books at any time and investigate any item in our 
$80,000 yearly turnover," said Secretary Richardson. 
"Every letter and telegram about every shipment is on file." 

Another successful co-operative enterprise we found at 
Sparta and with which Mr. Hanchett is connected is the 
Sparta Co-operative Creamery Company. It has been running 
eighteen years, has 482 members and has a daily butter 
output of six thousand pounds. In May 80,000 pounds 
were turned out, netting producers 29 cents a pound. Last 
winter butter fat brought as high as 38 cents a pound. 
Cream is collected every other day from each farmer, eleven 
company teams bringing it in daily. A dividend of 5 per 
cent annually is paid on the $2,500 capital subscribed, and 
all other profits are divided on the patronage basis. We 
found the, managers of the creamery seriously discussing a 
plan to establish a co-operative laundry in connection with 
the creamery, and this will probably be done before another 
year ends. 



The Co-operative Laundry at Chatfield a Project of Interest 
to All Women Folk — The Shehoygander Farmers and Their 
Fight with the Cheese Makers — Co-operative Live Stock 
Shipping and How It Pays in Many Ways 

IN THE Northwest co-operation has become so com- 
mon that I found in St. Paul a copy of a special maga- 
zine published for the managers of co-operative enter- 
prises, while Milwaukee was preferring to entertain 
the second annual convention of the "National Association 
of Managers of Farmers' Co-operativfe Companies." There 
has been, in fact, such a varied development of North- 
western co-operative activity that I can only recount a few 
of its more notable manifestations. 

One very notable story is that of the co-operative laundry, 
established in connection with the co-operative creamery at 
Chatfield, Minn., which I found to be the talk of the North- 
west. I visited two or three of the creameries where the 
officers told me they were planning to follow Chatfield's 
example, and it is not unlikely that within a few years it 
will be the rule rather than the exception to have a co- 
operative laundry in connection with each co-operative 
creamery. In describing the Chatfield laundry the St. Paul 
Farmer says: 

"A wing was built to the creamery and a ten-horse power gasoline 
engine installed at a total cost of $2,000, the creamery company financ- 



ing this part of the project. Complete laundry equipment was ob- 
tained from a manufacturing company in New York and installed in 
working order at a cost of $3,000. To secure funds for this expense, 
stock was sold at $5 a share to anyone who would buy, whether a 
creamery stockholder or not. The town of Chatfield was without 
laundry facilities, and shares were purchased by town and country 
dwellers alike. . . . 

"At regular periods a settlement will be made, 6 per .cent on the 
investment will be deducted from the profits, and the remainder will 
be rebated to the patrons in proportion to the amount of their wash- 
ing bills, whether they are stockholders or not. That is the true co- 
operative spirit. It is expected that the charge for family washing 
can be reduced to three cents a pound, and that the total cost for a 
family washing will not average more than $2 a month. The farmers 
pay for their laundry by the month, by having the amount of their bill 
deducted from their cream check; and the creamery then makes out 
a check for the full amount to the laundry company. Thus there is no 
collecting to do except in town, and the townspeople have to pay for it. 
The laundry gathers and delivers washing in town and collects the bills, 
and it charges the same rate for laundry work; but at the end of the 
period, when the rebates are made, the town patrons will be charged 10 
per cent of the amount of their business for this extra service. Thus, if 
a 20 per cent rebate is declared to farmer patrons, the town customers 
will receive a rebate of only 10 per cent." 

Although the help the first month was inexperienced, the 
creamery made a profit from the start. Here is one monthly- 
statement : 

Receipts for the Month 

Townspeople, cash business $210.58 

Farmers, charged on creamery account 127.37 

Total receipts $337.95 


Wages - $262.23 

Soap, starch, gasoline, etc 30.00 

Sundry expenses 3.90 

Rebate of 10 per cent to all patrons, whether stockholders or not 33.80 
Paid into sinking fund 8.02 

Total paid out $337.95 

Mr. C. J. Manahan, secretary and treasurer of the Chatr 
field laundry (and also of the creamery) , says : "The farm- 


ers' wives around Chatfield are entirely satisfied with the 
work of the laundry, and say that they are through with 
washing and ironing at home. They are plannng now on 
making visits on wash days!" Mr. Manahan also says: 
"There is no reason why a co-operative laundry should not 
be located in every creamery district; but the first secret 
is to have a prosperous creamery back of the venture." 


From ex-Senator Henry Krumrey of Plymouth, Wis., I 
got an illuminating story of how the farmers of Sheboygan 
County outwitted the cheese makers and dealers. 

Until recently the farmer-dairymen there have been con- 
tracting with the cheese makers not only to make the cheese 
for them, but to sell the product — on a certain commission 
basis, I believe — ^but of late years the farmers have found 
cause to arouse their suspicions. For five months, in 191 1, 
for example, cheese sold at from 11 to 13 cents, but in win- 
ter, when most of the product had passed out of the farm- 
ers' hands, it sold from 18 to 22 cents — only to drop back 
to 12 cents in May, 1912, about the time farmers would 
have begun to reap the lion's share of profits. 

True, there was a "cheese board," or exchange, at each 
cheese-making center where the cheese makers got together 
to sell the farmers' cheese and where the cheese dealers 
got together to buy it; but the farmers could not believe 
they were getting a square deal. They believed that the 
cheese dealers were paying these cheese makers a bonus 
beyond and in addition to the official published price; and 
before the case ended the charge was proved. 

"In one county in one year," Mr. Krumrey said to me, 
"$400,000 went to the cheese makers. In an investigation 
before the State Board of Public Affairs, moreover, the 
cheese dealers admitted having secret meetings to fix 
prices. Naturally our farmers became aroused, and we had 
a great meeting of 1,000 farmers at the fair grounds and 


started a movement for co-operative cheese factories. The 
result is that forty-three have been started in that one 
county, all federated in the 'Sheboygan County Cheese 
Producers' Association.' 

"Each local association incorporates under the new Wis- 
consin co-operative law, each member taking one to three $i 
shares and no member having more than one vote. Five direc- 
tors are elected who manage the business and employ a 
cheese maker. Then the officers of the county federation 
sell the produce of the entire forty-four factories, the 
farmer getting Just what his cheese brings after deducting 
one-eighth of a cent a pound for selling expenses." 

Thus the cheese makers no longer have anything to do 
with selling the product, but confine themselves to making 
as much and as good cheese as they can from the milk the 
farmers furnish them; and the farmers are getting ready 
to standardize their product, insist upon high quality at all 
times, have a registered trade-mark, and capitalize this 
reputation for quality. 


The co-operative live stock shipping association is an- 
other notable development in many parts of the West, 
about the best example I found being at Litchfield, Minn. 
One form of co-operation usually leads to another, and this 
live stock shipping association was the outgrowth of the 
successful creamery at Litchfield. 

"Has it paid you?" I asked farmer N. E. Christensen, 
president of the organization, as he drove up with a load 
of hogs. 

"Well, I guess yes !" was his emphatic reply as he waited 
his turn at the wagon scales. "Why, before we farmers 
organized to ship our own stock, we had to support four 
or five stock buyers here seven days in the week. That is 
to say, the profits on our business had to support them. 
Now all our farmers ship their stock together on Tuesdays, 
and our only expense is to pay Mr. Halverson for work one 


day in each week, so far as buying is concerned; and the 
saving goes into our pockets." 

"There are many other advantages," Mr. Christensen 
continued. "Under the old system a farmer might be pes- 
tered with visits from buyers when he didn't want them, 
and again he might have stock ready for market a whole 
month before a buyer would call. Again, old-time buyers 
made little difference in favor of quality animals. One 
man might have fattened his hogs carefully and another 
might have fed his chiefly on the northwest wind, but the 
old-time buyer averaged them up together, good, bad and 
worse, and let it go at that. Now, everything is graded. 
See that mark Halverson is putting on that calf there? 
That means he will get a specific report as to the grade in 
which he is put at the stock yard." 

Last year, according to the figures given me by Mr. 
Halverson, the manager, this association shipped 6,380 
hogs, 1,515 cattle, 1,972 veal calves and 1,047 sheep — a total 
of 10,909 animals, or 146 cars in all, as compared with 14 
cars in 1901, the year of organization. Mr. Halverson, who 
is also manager of the creamery, is released from his cream- 
ery work Tuesdays to receive, weigh and load the stock. 
They are then shipped — on Tuesday evenings, I believe — 
to St. Paul or Minneapolis, and he goes down and spends 
Wednesday selling them. On his return he mails each 
farmer a check for the amount of his sales, less six cents per 
hundredweight to cover Mr. Halverson's expenses and all 
other expenses of the shipping association. This payment 
of six cents per hundredweight, live weight (or about one- 
sixteenth of a cent a pound) pays for everything; the 
farmers know they are getting exactly what their stock is 
worth ; and they get cash for their sales. 

No wonder such live stock shipping associations are be- 
coming popular all over the West. In Svea they organ- 
ized one three years ago, and it has been a notable success 
from the beginning; and I found another strikingly suc- 
cessful one at work in Dassell, Minn. 



'(i) How Warehousing Prevents Enormous Weather Dam- 
age; (2) Importance of Making Store Accounts Mature 
Throughout Cotton-Selling Season; (3) Evidence of Cot- 
ton Buyers' Trusts in Southern Markets; (4) Proof That 
Farmers Don't Get Benefit of Grades Above Middling; 
(5) Cottonseed Prices Ranging from $16 to $33 Same Day 
— The Co-operative Warehouse the One Sure Remedy 

M[LLIONS of dollars have been lost to our south- 
ern cotton growers by poor methods of market- 
ing, and many millions more will doubtless be 
lost before our farmers adopt the co-operative 
remedies necessary to bring about a change. Four great 
needs are: 

(i) Proper housing of the crop so as to prevent damage 
to quality of lint. 

(2) Plans to prevent the depression of prices by the 
"distressed cotton" of the early and middle fall. 

(3) Plans which will enable farmers to get the benefit 
of grades above middling. 

(4) Plans for selling cotton and cottonseed co-operatively 
in large quantities so as to reduce the losses incurred by 
supporting the present unnecessarily vast army of buyers. 

And all these considerations point directly to the need of 
farmers' co-operative cotton warehouses. 

We mention first of all (not because it is first in impor- 
tance but because it happens to come first in actual opera- 



tion) the need for better housing of the cotton crop, which 
can best be effected through co-operative warehousing. 

Consider these two illustrations which Prof. Thomas 
Nelson recently found on the writer's home market: 

In the first case, the owner had thirty-three bales of 
cotton from which 776 pounds of damaged cotton were 
picked. This damage was due to the bales lying out in the 
weather; and while the rest of the lint sold for 11 5^ cents 
a pound, the 776 pounds of damaged lint brought only two 
cents a pound — and the picking itself cost $16.50 extra. 

In other words, there was a loss of 9^ cents a pound in 
the price of this damaged lint or — 

776 pounds at loss of 9^ cents $74.69 

Cost of picking over 33 bales at 50 cents per bale 16.50 

Total loss $91.19 

Loss per bale, $2.76. 

In this case the loss from weather damage amounted to 
practically one-half cent a pound. 

In another shipment of 319 weather damaged bales on the 
same market,' it was found necessary to pick off 37,386 
pounds of damaged cotton, which sold for only seven cents, 
whereas the rest of the lint brought i2}i cents. The total 
weather damage loss on these 319 bales by leaving them 
outdoors after ginning was thus $2,056.23, or $6.65 a bale — 
nearly ij^ cents a pound. 


As a rule, however, the farmer is not required to pick 
the damaged cotton from the rest. The buyer simply 
grades the whole bale lower, and the farmer who thinks 
he has been fooling somebody into paying 10 or 12 cents a 
pound for water doesn't realize that he has lost $10 in 
grade for every imaginary $1 he has gained in weight. 
Upon this point it may be well to quote what Mr. C. C. 
Moore, once a leader in the Southern Cotton Association, 


tells me he heard a representative of a cotton-exporting 
firm say on one occasion : 

"The man said he was in the employ of a cotton exporting firm ; that 
they bought cotton direct from farmers ; that the farmer would not pro- 
tect his cotton from the earth and weather after ginning; that cotton 
bales were always damaged from lying on the ground, and that when 
offered for sale, the buyer makes a guess at the damage, always guess- 
ing so as to protect himself from loss. For instance, if the buyer be- 
lieves there is five pounds damaged on a bale, he deducts ten pounds 
or more; or if the damage perhaps is twenty pounds he deducts 
forty or fifty pounds and fixes the price of the whole bale with a view 
to making this deduction." 

In any case, Brother Farmer, don't fool yourself into 
believing that the cotton manufacturers and cotton buyers 
are big enough fools to pay you 12 or 15 cents a pound for 
water. They are not. Make up your mind now that 
whether or not you warehouse your cotton this year, you 
will at least put it under shelter in a thoroughly dry place, 
thereby avoiding weather damage and leaving you in a 
position to get topnotch prices for the grade represented. 


In the matter of plans to prevent the flooding of the mar- 
ket at the height of the picking season in the fall, there is 
need both for a new system of maturing payments for fer- 
tilizer and supplies and for a more extensive warehousing 

Instead of our tenants and our poor farmers being forced 
to sell their crops on glutted markets every year in order 
to settle accounts falling due from October 15 to Novem- 
ber 15, it would be better if such accounts matured one-third 
November i, one- third January i, and one-third February 
I — or something like that. Even having one-half fall due 
November i and one-half January i would be a vast im- 
provement over present policies. The Farmers' Union and 
other organized agencies of the farmers would do well to 
push a movement to this effect. 


Warehousing cotton would indeed afford relief to many 
farmers in this class, even under present conditions, be- 
cause many of them could borrow enough on their ware- 
house receipts to pay what they owe, leaving the cotton to 
be actually sold later when better market conditions are 
likely to prevail. Again, there are many farmers not han- 
dicapped by debt but who wish to make purchases early 
in the picking season, and who therefore sell their crop 
early in order to get the ready money. The warehousing 
plan enables them also to get the needed money without 
helping glut the market and depress prices. 


As for our third proposition, how to help the farmer get 
the benefit of higher prices for his better grades, the first 
thing needful in this respect is to have sufficient competi- 
tion in the market where he sells. 

A friend came into my office the other day and said: 
"You ought to go down to the city cotton market here 
and see how the game is worked. The buyers stand out 
in the middle of the street looking for the wagons as they 
come into sight. When a buyer first glimpses a load com- 
ing, he says, 'Cotton !' as quick as he can, and that means it 
is his cotton because he saw it first. The other buyers will 
not bid against him. I was just down there when two buy- 
ers saw their farmer-game almost at the same time and 
both called 'Cotton!' almost in the same breath. So they 
were about to have a dispute about it but tossed up a coin, 
and the man who won walked up and took the farmer's 
bales without opposition." 

I went down unrecognized and found it just as my friend 
had described. There was no semblance of competition 
among the buyers. I saw a buyer sight a load coming into 
view while he was talking with a farmer, and while he could 
not call out "Cotton" quite so openly as when alone with 
his brother buyers, he carried his point by singing out. 


"Cotton coming around the corner !" and so walked up and 
took the load while the other buyers paid no more attention 
to it than if they had been put there to buy meat instead 
of cotton. Of course, the signals vary in different mar- 
kets and with different seasons. 

To the same effect is this testimony given by Mr. J. B. 
Watt of Charlotte, N. C, who says : 

"I had eleven bales of good middling cotton on the Charlotte market 
October 1st, and tendered it for sale, and ISJiJ was the highest bid 
offered on the street. I was given to understand, though, if I got a 
better bid they (the street buyers) would better it. I succeeded in 
getting a bid of 14 cents, in consequence of which the same buyer who 
refused to raise the price made an offer of 14.05." 

Mr. Watt evidently means that he first got the higher 
offer from the representatives of some cotton mill or other 
outside party before the regular buyers would offer the 14 
cents he was entitled to. Most farmers, of course, simply 
take what is offered. 

When such conditions prevail, there is nothing to prevent 
the individual buyer from cheating the farmer just as much 
as the grower's ignorance will permit, both on grades and 
prices. Mr. Charles J. Brand, head of the Bureau of Mar- 
kets, United States Department of Agriculture, said last 
year that in Penfield, Ga., where the farmers were not well- 
informed, he found long-staple cotton selling for two cents 
a pound or $10 a bale less than it was bringing in Harts- 
ville, S. C, where Mr. David R. Coker, the famous long- 
staple grower, is helping the farmers to get the prices their 
grades entitle them to. Mr. Brand also tells of a cotton 
buyer who was asked at the best of the cotton season last 
year as to the grades of cotton he had been buying. His 
answer was': "Well, I haven't been grading in buying so 
far, but just taking everything as middling. I shall begin 
grading, however, from now on." The explanation was 


that fine cotton had been coming in up to that time, much 
of it strict middling and good middling and middling fair, 
and he had not given the farmer the benefit of any price 
above middling. Now that poorer grades were coming 
in, however, he was ready to grade down to the uttermost. 
Consider, too, this specimen letter which I received from 
Mr. W. L. Green of Meridian, Miss., in October, 1913: 

"Now as to the grades. From what I learn there are about as many- 
grades above middling as there are below. I have before me the quota- 
tions of the New Orleans market for September 22. Middling is 
quoted at 13^^ cents and fair at 15^ cents, a difference of IJ^ cents. 
Now, what I am driving at is that the merchants of Meridian will 
never pay the farmer above middling for any cotton." 

Small wonder that one of the most thoughtful agricul- 
tural leaders in the South recently remarked to the writer : 
"I am convinced that cotton buyers get half of the increased 
prices that the mills pay for grades above average quality." 
In other words, under our present system half the hard- 
earned wealth the farmer creates in quality of staple is 
confiscated by buyers instead of going to the grower's 
needy wife and children. Our friend then gave us an illus- 
tration: "I was in a cotton buyer's office last fall," he 
said, "when a farmer came in with a few bales to sell. 
Ordinary cotton was going at 12 cents and a fraction, but 
the buyer told the farmer that as these bales were of 
superior staple he would pay 14 cents, or two cents extra 
per pound. And then Mr. Buyer told me that the cotton 
was really worth 18 cents, or nearly six cents extra in the 

In other words, on each 500-pound bale the buyer made 
$20 clear profit by two minutes' sharp practice or about 
one-third as much as the farmer and his family had made 
through a year of weary toiling and planning — breaking the 
land in winter's cold; preparing, fertilizing, planting in 
spring; hoeing and cultivating under summer suns; and 
laboriously picking the crop in the fall. 


How long will a free people submit to such a system? 
How long will our cotton growers be content to be mere 
laborers, surrendering all the business-side of farming to 
alien interests? 

It is true of scores of markets all over the South that 
there is no real competition among the buyers. The writer 
has already noted the private signaling by means of which 
buyers "divide the spoils" as the farmer's cotton comes in 
sight. Buyer A makes his bid and Buyers B, C, D and E 
do not interfere, for they will take their turns with later 
bales. And with such a system it is always possible for 
the shrewd buyer to get the farmer's cotton for much less 
than its real worth. We know, of course, that many honest 
buyers will not take advantage of the weak, but it is not 
fair for the laborer to be thrown bound and helpless before 
whomsoever wishes to plunder him. And it is not fair to 
honest cotton buyers for them to have to compete with dis- 
honest ones when conditions give such an advantage to 


In this connection it would be well for every cotton 
farmer to send five cents in stamps for a copy of the bul- 
letin, "Studies of Primary Cotton Marketing Conditions in 
Oklahoma," recently issued by the Bureau of Markets, 
United States Department of Agriculture. 

This bulletin based on careful, authoritative studies in the 
marketing season of 1912, not only shows wide variations 
in cotton prices in different towns on the same day, but 
also proves that equally wide variations may frequently 
exist in the same town at the same hour. A farmer who is 
well informed as to market conditions and the value of 
grades, or a farmer who is selling in a pool with a group of 
farmers who know, may receive several dollars more a bale 
for the same grade of cotton than a more ignorant farmer 
selling alone will receive in the same town at the same hour. 


Here, for example, are the figures collected by Mr. Brand 
and his several assistants in Oklahoma, showing the varia- 
tions in prices paid for strict lovsr middling cotton in the 
same town on the same day — that is to say, the difference 
between the prices some farmers received and the prices 
some other farmers received for the same grade of cotton, 
the same day, figured out on the basis of 500-pound bales : 

Yarlatloa Variation 

Town per bale Town per bale 

Okemah $2.50 Terral $4.20 

Mountain Park 3.75 Erick 4.69 

Norman 3.75 Caddo 4.75 

Porter 4.37 Snyder 6.75 

Norman 5.00 Erick 6.25 

Duncan 10.00 Terral 4.50 

Waurika 3.00 Wellston 2.50 

Think of it — some farmers in Duncan, Okla., received 
$io less a bale for strict low middling cotton than other 
farmers received for the same grade on the same day — 
December 2, 1912! And in Terral, Okla., November 
12, the variation in prices paid for low middling amounted 
to $12.50 per bale. And worst of all, in Mangum, Okla., 
November 7, with twenty-seven buyers in town, the 
lowest price paid for good ordinary was $19.25 less per 500- 
pound bale than some other good ordinary cotton fetched 
the same day ! How long will cotton growers endure such 
conditions ? 

As this bulletin goes on to say, all this enormous loss 
falls, for the most part, on those least able to bear it, and 
whose families are least able to bear it — the more ignorant 
farmers or those who are forced to sell. We quote : 

"If buyer and seller were equally informed as to the grade of the 
bales oflfered, and if the sale of the individual bale were a matter of 
no more importance to the farmer than its purchase is to the buyer, 
such conditions could not exist. The farmer is necessarily under some 
pressure to sell after he has brought his bale to town. If he does not 
do so he has lost a day's time, and has no assurance that his next at- 
tempt to sell will be productive of better results. Furthermore, he is 


not well enough versed in cotton grading to know exactly what his bale 
ought to bring, or whether the price offered is a fair one. 

"The conclusion is irresistible that the burden of the great discrep- 
ancies in the prices paid for each standard grade must fall most heavily 
upon those producers who are most ignorant of cotton grading and 
who are under the greatest pressure to sell." 


The two supreme facts brought out in this remarkable 
study of cotton marketing in Oklahoma — and the conditions 
there are typical — are : 

(i) That farmers marketing individually have no guar- 
antee that they will receive the value of their lint. Perhaps 
a few farmers in the cases just mentioned did receive a little 
more than their grade justified, but we all know that buyers 
are too intelligent for this to happen often. The conclusion 
Is, therefore, irresistible that if the highest prices were only 
just about right, the lowest ones were grossly unjust to the 
growers — amounting almost to sheer robbery of the 

(2) The farmer does not get the benefit of the higher 
prices he should receive for grades above middling. This 
fact is emphasized and re-emphasized in the bulletin from 
which we are quoting. "The cotton trade in Oklahoma," we 
are told, "recognizes no grade above good middling, although 
many thousand bales of higher grade are produced. In 
some cases the bulk of the cotton is bought as middling for 
weeks at a time, when a large majority of the bales are 
actually above that grade." Note this language — "& large 
majority of the bales" for weeks at a time above 
middling, when middling price is the highest the farmer 
gets! The conclusions of the whole matter are set forth 
by the authors of this bulletin in the following language : 

"The greatest losses to the farmers under the present system of 
marketing appear to lie in their failure to secure the premium for their 
high grades which these bales finally bring. No relief from this con- 
dition can be expected while grading is wholly in the hands of the 


buyers. As long as this is the case, the cotton will never be closely 
graded until after it has left the grower's possession. Co-operation 
among growers, if properly organized, would probably furnish some 
measure of relief, but under present conditions a rather expensive 
selling department would probably be necessary." 


But the cotton farmer's loss does not stop with the lint. 
He also loses untold thousands of dollars every year 
through lack of system in marketing his cottonseed. Abun- 
dant proof of this fact is found in reports sent the writer by 
farmers in various parts of the South as to cottonseed prices 
on Saturday, November 29, and Monday, December i, 1913. 

A glance at these reports will prove interesting. Letter 
No. I came from a farmer who said: "Our neighbors 
clubbed up and sold 5,000 bushels at $33-33% per ton, or at 
50 cents per bushel. Co-operation, you see." 

The next letter came from A. C. Mc Anally, Cleveland, 
Ala., who said : "Cottonseed are worth $25 a ton here to- 
day at the wagon." 

Mr. G. W. Wilson of Mt. Pleasant, S. C, wrote : "The 
Sea Island Cotton Oil Company of Charleton is paying $30 
per ton for seed today, and they furnish sacks free and 
deliver them at gin." 

This came from Mr. F. B. Cameron, McKinney, Texas: 
"The oil mill and gins here are paying the farmers $20 per 
ton. The gins pay the farmers just as much as the oil mill 
and haul the seed. It looks like a 'stand in.' Surely the 
gins cannot afford to do the hauling and sell for the price 
the mill pays the farmer. I think we farmers need a little 
co-operation in this seed business; also in the lint cotton." 

Mr. G. T. Gresham, Eulonia, S. C, was next, naming the 
price there $30 a ton. 

The same price was reported by Mr. L. C. Holler, David- 
son, N. C. 

The very next letter was from W. C. Andrews, Grady, 
Ark., who said: "We have been getting $16 per ton for 


about a month. Both gins buy seed but have no competi- 
tion. No provision is made for disposing of it except when 

With variations from $i6 to $33 a ton, it is clearly high 
time for farmers to co-operate in selling cottonseed, as well 
as cotton. 


What is needed Is a co-operative farmers' warehouse in 
every market of sufficient size in which farmers can store 
their cotton, have it graded by an expert grader, and sell it 
on special days in 100 to 500-bale lots, getting representa- 
tives of the cotton exporters, and' cotton mills, if possible, 
to attend. If it is too expensive to keep a warehouse just 
for cotton, make it a storehouse for fertilizers in spring and 
rent space for other purposes in other seasons. Or if there 
is no warehouse, organize the farmers and let all members 
of the organization market together one or two days in 
each week. 

Somewhat more elaborate are the views of Judge Lind- 
sey of the Texas Farm Life Commission. He believes, as 
the writer has advocated, that there should be co-operative 
cotton gins as well as co-operative cotton warehouses, and 
goes on to say: 

"On the same plan that gins are organized, but on a larger scale, 
organize or reorganize warehouses. Say there are thirty co-operative 
gins in a county; all these associations should join together in a 
warehouse association. At the time cotton is stored it should come 
under insurance protection carried by the warehouse association, and 
each bale should be carefully and correctly weighed, graded and given 
a warehouse number, all of which should be entered on the books 
of the warehouse and on the receipt issued to the owner of the cotton. 
With this information the owner and holder of the receipt can readily 
follow the values of his cotton from day to day by the market reports 
and sell when he so desires by merely transferring his receipt." 

The number of buyers who must be supported under the 


present system o£ selling also makes the buyer's margin of 
profit absolutely excessive. We have already commented 
on the veritable army of cotton buyers in Memphis, Tenn., 
as an example of the wastefulness of present methods. 

When the vt^riter was in Minnesota he found that through 
co-operative live stock selling the stockmen there are now 
supporting only one buyer to the town (and he is the 
farmers' own man responsible to them for his actions) in- 
stead of four or five buyers as previously, responsible to no 
one. When will our cotton farmers learn the same lesson? 


Finally, we may summarize our conclusions by saying: 
(i) No cotton should be allowed to lie out in the weather. 
You will be sacrificing $io in grade for every $i you im- 
agine you will gain in weight. 

(2) The present system of individual selling of cotton 
must go — "everybody for himself and the devil take the 
hindmost." There are too many of the "hindmost" who 
catch the gentleman aforementioned; and there are too 
many unnecessary middlemen to support. Cotton farmers 
must organize to sell co-operatively on special days and in 
large quantities. 

(3) They should have their cotton graded by an expert 
and impartial grader. 

(4) They should see to it that they get the benefit of 
higher prices for grades above middling as well as bear 
the losses on grades below middling. 

(5) Especially in long-staple cotton is careful grading of 
the highest importance. 

(6) Farmers should get reports of what all available 
market towns are paying and find out whether in any of 
them prices are being held down by a buyers' "trust," act- 
ing without competition. In such cases they should appeal 
to the business men and commercial bodies of the town 


for help. These business men will realize that such methods 
will cause farmers to boycott the town and hurt trade. 

(7) Farmers and tenants should be encouraged to have 
their bills fall due in two or three payments instead of hav- 
ing to settle everything around November i. 

(8) The same co-operation recommended for practice in 
selling lint should also be observed in selling cottonseed, 
and the co-operative warehouse should handle both lint 
and seed. 

(9) These and other plans should be discussed in your 
Farmers' Union or other farmers' organizations ; and if the 
farmers are not organized in your community, this will 
be a good object to organize them on. Farmers fighting 
single-handed can never bring about the reforms needed 
for their relief. 



A First-Hand Account of the Famous "Eastern Shore Produce 
Exchange' — Averages a Carload of Potatoes for Every 
Hour in the Year — A Wonderful Business Organization 
Which Maintains Agencies in All the Great Centers and 
Has Lessons for Co-operative Societies Everywhere. 

I RECKON that's the court house," said Professor 
Camp to me as we walked through the little town of 
Onley, in the eastern shore of Virginia, and came in 
sight of the handsomest building in the place. But it 
wasn't the court house at all. It was the home office of 
the "Eastern Shore of Virginia Produce Exchange," as a 
large sign across the front quickly informed us. 

The building itself is pretty tangible proof that this idea 
of co-operative marketing is getting in the air, and not only 
getting in the air, but getting very substantially rooted 
in the good earth of everyday business. And the proof is 
even more convincing when I say that from this building 
this Eastern Shore Produce Exchange handles about $5,000,000 
worth of business annually, shipping on an average more 
than one carload of potatoes for every hour in the year. 

How the Exchange grew to such proportions is naturally 
the reader's next inquiry. And the answer is in part that, 
like Rome, it was not built in a day. "You seem to have 
had a rather easy history," I said to Secretary- Treasurer 
A. J. McMath as I began talking with him. But he was 
quick to reply that Jordan had been a hard road to travel 
for the Eastern Shore Exchange as well as for nealrly all 
farmers' marketing organizations, and that it had in fact 



come up through great tribulation. The organization was 
born out of the poverty and disappointments of these 
Eastern Shore Virginia farmers — it is limited to Accomac 
and Northampton counties, in the Capfe Charles peninsula 
north of Norfolk — in 1899. As a result of several meetings 
held that year a committee of twelve framed recommenda- 
tions for a marketing organization, and it was finally in- 
corporated January 6, 1900. Shares were fixed at $5 each, 
and in order to make it easy to get members, any white 
grower was authorized to take stock by paying 25 cents 
down, the remaining $4.75 to be paid by the end of the year. 
By August $3,500 had been paid in, and the first season's 
volume of business proved, on the whole, pretty satisfactory. 

"The system of marketing before the Exchange came 
was, in fact, just about as bad as it could well be," Mr. 
McMath remarked to us. "The local buyers who took 
the farmers' produce found it to their interest to force 
prices as low as possible. Ten cents a barrel was the usual 
commission allowed them by the employing houses, and the 
lower the price at which they bought, the more barrels they 
could buy and the quicker they could turn over the money, 
and the better pleased were employing officers." 

To put it in a nutshell, for every Exchange employee 
the farmers are now supporting, employed by them to get 
the best possible prices for them, the farmers were then 
supporting six to ten times as many local buyers, whose 
activities inevitably resulted in forcing the lowest possible 
prices on them. 

The first big fact to consider about Eastern Shore Ex- 
change methods is that it does not consign the farmers' 
products, leaving the commission merchant to report later 
what were the prices received, but fixes prices by wire 
before making shipment to the buyer; and the farmer 
knows the very next day how much per barrel his potatoes 
will fetch him. 

Secondly, the Exchange with its 2,500 stockholders and 
1,000 additional patrons, controls 75% of the potato crop 


of the two big potato-producing counties of Accomac and 
Northampton, so that commission merchants can place 
orders with it, confident that they will be filled, and reason- 
ably certain that the prices paid by them represent actual 
and stable market values. 

Thirdly, the Exchange inspects every shipment, putting 
its registered "Red Star" trade mark on every shipment 
of No. I quality, so that buyers call for the "Red Star 
Brand" and are willing to pay a shade more for it. 

The largest and most reputable produce houses North, 
East and West, therefore, had rather buy from the Ex- 
change, even when other Eastern Shore agents wire them 
the same prices, (i) because they know that with its big 
business the Exchange will be surer to fill their orders, 
and (2) because the Exchange guarantees quality as 

In order to explain more readily the Exchange's method, 
let us describe a typical day's work in the shipping season. 
The first thing the officers do is to 'phone the Exchange's 
forty-three agents, the men employed to represent at forty- 
three shipping points scattered all over the two counties, 
and find out just how many cars will be offered for ship- 
ment. Oak Hall, say, will report three cars "Star brand," 
Tasley one or two unbranded, Onley five cars "Star," and 
so on and so on. Then the totals are footed up, and it is 
"up to" the Exchange to sell them for the growers. By 
8 or 9 o'clock telegrams report the prevailing New York 
prices — and New York prices, of coui'se, determine prices 
in a considerable area around New York. If New York 
prices are low, then the Exchange may wire its agents in 
Chicago, Pittsburg, Toronto and Scranton (a regularly em- 
ployed agent of the Exchange is kept all the time in each 
of these places as well as in Boston), and the Exchange 
officials will also wire as many jobbers in other cities as the 
size of the day's business seems to. require. Perhaps the 
telegram will read: "We offer you today one car Red 


Star $2 barrel." Perhaps a number of orders will be wired 
back at this price, but some jobbers will reply: "Cannot 
pay $2 here, but will take two cars at one ninety." By 
I or 2 o'clock the Exchange officials have wired directions 
for shipping most of the cars, and they also know whether 
or not all the cars can be sold at the $2 rate. If all cannot 
be sold at this figure, some orders may be filled at $1.90, 
or perhaps some may have to be sold at $1.85, in markets 
where local conditions will not justify the higher price. 

Nevertheless, it would be manifestly unfair to pay one 
farmer $1.85 and another $2, when both had brought to 
Exchange officials the same grade of potatoes and at the 
same time. Therefore, it is the custom of the Exchange 
to pool prices or to average them so that on each day's 
shipment all farmers will get the same price for the same 
grade of product. If, for example, five cars are sold at 
$1.90 and five at $1.70, the price paid both classes of shippers 
will be $1.80. Of course, some growers produce an extra 
fancy product, however, which commands superior prices, 
and in such cases they get a corresponding premium above 
the average paid for standard grades. 

And the Exchange does a big business not only in num- 
ber of barrels handled and in money turned over, as we have 
already indicated, but also in territory served. Let us take 
a look at the shipping books for July 15, 1913 — a rather 
small day's business, it is true, but one which will illustrate 
the range of distribution. Three cars were sold to South 
Bend, Ind., six to Toronto, six to Providence, three to Bos- 
ton, five to Detroit, twenty to Pittsburg, three to Worces- 
ter, two to Portland, five to Scranton, and one each to 
Allentown, Dayton, Hartford, Trenton, Newark, Roches- 
ter and Carbondale. 

Frequently the Exchange's sales, in a single day, will reach 
a total of two hundred carloads, and the record day's sales, 
made last season, was about three hundred and twenty-five 
cars of Irish potatoes. With this volume of business the 


geographical distribution is much wider; and in the sweet 
potato season the association sells from Portland, Me., to 
Tampa, Fla., and as far west as the cities of the Rocky- 

Under the old system of selling, the Eastern Shore farm- 
ers were systematically fleeced (and we seem to have 
heard that farmers in unorganized sections are still sys- 
tematically robbed) by dishonest commission merchants 
who report, "Market glutted since you started your ship- 
ment; prices all off," the commission merchant proceeding 
to make settlement accordingly ; or perhaps the report will 
be, "Your shipment reached us in bad condition; will com- 
mand only one-half or two-thirds regular market price." 
And in such cases, what redress has the small unorganized 
trucker? He cannot afford to make a trip to New York 
or Buffalo or Chicago, as the case may be, to see whether 
the report is correct or not. He must take what is offered. 

But the unfaithful produce dealers have long since learned 
to play no such fantastic tricks before the Eastern Shore 
Exchange. In the first place, the Exchange has regularly 
employed representatives in a list of cities we have already 
given (and in sweet potato season a man in Kansas City 
ahd another in Cincinnati), and any of these agents will 
immediately investigate any trouble that is reported with 
any Eastern Shore shipment in his particular city. Or 
if trouble is reported in any city where the Eastern Shore 
has no agent, there is usually one of these agents near 
enough by to run over and get justice for the shippers if 
the matter cannot be arranged by wire. Of course, after 
fourteen years' experience in the business Mr. McMath 
knows there are certain dealers whose word he cannot take. 
He also keeps a sharp eye for the financial standing of 
every man to whom a shipment is made — as was indicated 
by the big copies of Dun and Bradstreet at his hand as we 
talked, each twice as big as an old Unabridged Dictionary — 
and he told me that he did not lose a dollar by selling to 
any financially unsound dealer last year. 


Nor are the members of the Eastern Shore Exchange the 
only ones who benefited by its activities. "If local men beat 
down the price at some place where we are not strongly 
organized," Mr. McMath told me, "we may go there 
and buy for our protection. Here's a case in point: On 
one occasion when potatoes had been selling the day before 
for $2.50 a barrel, the local buyers put out word that the 
market had broken and that $1.75 was the best price to be 
had. We found it out, put our buyers there buying shipments 
at $2.50 and before night the price had advanced to $2.75 !" 

"What system have you for inspecting your products so 
as to keep up the reputation of the 'Red Star' brand?" was 
one of the next questions we fired at Mr. McMath. 

"An inspector is employed at every shipping point," was 
his reply. "He is required to examine one package in every 
five, but if a shipper with a bad reputation should show up, 
the inspector might examine half of his offerings. Then, 
too, you must remember that every barrel which bears the 
Red Star brand of quality also has the grower's mark on it 
— either his initials or some other mark of identification. 
For example, suppose a bad lot of potatoes should get by 
the inspector and complaint should come back to the Ex- 
change. 'What were the initials on the barrel?' I would 
ask. Suppose the reply should be 'B. T. F.,' for example. 
Very well ; I would call up the inspector at the point of ship- 
ment and tell him to be more careful about B. T. F. thereafter." 

I then put this question : "But, suppose there should be 
continued complaints against B. T. F. ; would you fire him 
from your membership?" 

Mr. McMath's reply was characteristic : "Well, the first 
man we would fire," he answered, "would be the inspector 
himself! It's his job to keep poor stuff from getting in 
with first-class stuff." 

But any unscrupulous grower has learned long since that 
it doesn't pay to try to pack off an inferior product on the 
inspector. If he does, he may wind up by having his whole 


shipment go out unbranded, whereas with honest grading- 
all the better part would get the advantage of "Red Star" 
quality prices. A chief inspector has general oversight of 
the local inspectors and does much to keep grading uniform 
and to remind inspectors that the Exchange, like England at 
Trafalgar, "expects every man to do his duty." 

Finally, we come to a consideration of the business pri-n- 
ciples upon which the Exchange is conducted. The Ex- 
change, in fact, is one of these enterprises operated partly 
upon capitalistic and partly upon co-operative lines — a sort 
of institution of which we shall necessarily have thousands 
of examples while the co-operative idea is getting itself 
understood, and a greater or smaller number probably for the 
rest of the time. The ideas of "patronage dividends" and 
"one man, one vote," had not been much heard of in the 
South when the Exchange began business fifteen years 
ago; and it has been necessary, therefore, to graft some 
new ideas on it and yet not wholly destroy the present stock. 

Up to four years ago all dividends had been paid on 
stock and there had also been trouble on account of some 
of the larger stockholders transferring their shares at op- 
portune times for electing local agents, etc. Accordingly 
a rebellion arose — a rank, bitter, riotous sort of rebellion 
such as nobody else can equal farmers for raising. The 
rebels wanted patronage dividends and the "one man, one 
vote" principle. 

The final result was a sort of compromise. The bigger 
stockholders maintained that they bought stock with the 
understanding that they would have one vote for each share 
— that was, in fact, a requirement of the Virginia law at the 
time — and that all dividends would go to stock. So an 
arrangement was voted whereby a lo per cent dividend is 
declared on stock, and of the remaining surplus one-half 
is divided up among all the shippers in proportion to the 
quantity of produce shipped — as a patronage dividend — and 
the other half is carried to the surplus or reserve fund of 
the Exchange. 


But certainly lo per cent is as much as any such con- 
cern should pay on stock, and as soon as the surplus be- 
comes large enough to insure the Exchange against a 
season of bad years, not merely half but all profits above 
ID per cent on stock should go as patronage dividends. 

It should be added, however, that the accumulation of a 
surplus fund soon raised the actual value of the Exchange's 
stock above its par value, and that the price was raised 
accordingly. At present, with a capital of $41,780 (par 
value), the association has $108,000 surplus, and stock is 
issued only at $15 per share; so that the nominal 10 per 
cent dividend means only about 3% per cent on a new 
stockholder's money. Moreover, the amount required to 
pay this dividend (only a little over $4,000) is insignificant 
in comparison with the Exchange's present annual business 
of four or five million dollars. 

The Exchange, of course, "does business on business 
principles," as a time-worn but necessary phrase puts it; 
has always been willing to pay good salaries to get efficient, 
capable men; and uses the most systematic and up-to-date 
methods of carrying on its business. We found the books 
remarkably simple and well kept; they are regularly 
audited by some of Virginia's best accountants, and any 
stockholder can take a look at them whenever he feels like it. 

Moreover, while the idea of patronage dividends was not 
abroad in the land at the time the Exchange was orgaij- 
ized, things were even then so arranged that the profits 
would be distributed with some rough approximation to 
equality. It has always been against the rules for any one 
man to own as much as one-tenth of the stock, and most 
of the 8,350 five-dollar shares (total capital stock, $41,750) 
are held in blocks of one to five. All told there are about 
2,500 stockholders. 

It should be remembered, however, that the Exchange 
handles business not only for these 2,500 stockholders, but 
also for about 1,000 non-members who have "shipping 


privileges" in it. Any white man, at any time, can buy 
one share of stock at its cash value and become a member 
of the Exchange. White farmers who do not care to do 
this, or negroes who wish to use the Exchange, may never- 
theless have their products handled by it by paying $i 
apiece for a "shipping privilege" and agreeing to have all 
their produce handled by the Exchange. The last named 
requirement is imperative. No man can ship today through 
John Smith and tomorrow through the Exchange. If this 
were permitted the managers would never know what busi- 
ness to count on. The only exception to this rule is that 
if local buyers at any time offer unjustifiably high prices 
for a product in order to get trade away from the Exchange, 
its officials may direct the farmer to take them up. "These 
buyers can't keep it up long," is the argument, "and we are per- 
fectly willing to give them plenty of rope to hang themselves." 

Another significant advantage of co-operation was 
brought to light in the course of our investigation of the 
Onley Exchange. Year before last, just about ten days 
before its members would finish shipping their potatoes, 
it was discovered that the New Jersey potato growers just 
north of them were themselves about to start bumper ship- 
ments to Northern markets. With the Eastern Shore Ex- 
change and the New Jersey growers both shipping heavily 
at once, prices would naturally have gone to pieces, prob- 
ably selling low throughout the rest of the season. But the 
Exchange officials sent word to the New Jersey marketing 
societies, "Please hold off ten days till we can get through 
and it will be better for both of us." And so it worked out, 
whereas without organization the New Jersey growers and 
the Eastern Shore Virginia growers would simply have cut 
one another's throats, financially. 

Of course, the Exchange doesn't satisfy everybody. I 
found one man who was very badly dissatisfied with it. 
But after he had expressed himself vigorously and pic- 
turesquely, swearing that some of the inspectors wouldn't 
know how to hitch up a plow horse, and that farmers should 


do their own shipping and not have any confounded Ex- 
change inspectors monkeying with their produce, I asked 
him how many barrels he shipped through the Exchange. 
And then it developed that he wasn't a farmer at all, but 
a sort of gentleman superintendent of the universe. Have 
you ever noticed that those who won't work and are failures 
themselves always take great pleasure in abusing those who 
do work and succeed? Nor have I yet had it explained to 
me why it matters much whether a potato inspector can 
hitch up a horse or not, provided he knows potato inspect- 
ing from A to Izzard. 

"You know how it is," our grumbling citizen called to a 
farmer acquaintance who was listening to him. "What did 
you get for your potato crop last year?" 

"Well, I didn't get but $i8 last year for my Irish potatoes, 
as you know," was the reply, "but in trucking you will have 
a. spell of tough luck every now and then. But I have 
•studied my business enough to know that if I were to quit 
the Exchange I'd lose nine times out of ten." 

The rest of my story can be quickly told. The general 
manager of the Exchange, co-laborer with Mr. McM,ath, is 
Mr. W. A. Burton, and the business of the company is con- 
ducted by these two men and a corps of young associates — '■ 
a more general supervision over its affairs being exer- 
cised by a board of thirty-three directors. One director 
and a local executive board is elected by each of the thirty- 
three local divisions of the Exchange. 

All in all, the "Eastern Shore of Virginia Produce Ex- 
change" is a great experiment in farmers' co-operative mar- 
keting, and while we might wish that it worked a little more 
fully on the basis of patronage dividends and "one man, 
one vote," we are reminded of Josh Billings's saying: "It 
ain't no use to argy ag'in a success !" 

And the Eastern Shore of Virginia Produce Exchange 
is certainly a success! 



The Catawba Farmers Started with a Co-operative Creamery, 
and Now Have Co-operative Egg Collecting, Fire Insur- 
ance, Potato Marketing and a Farmers' Building and Loan 
Association — Farm Women's Clubs an Important Factor — 
A Co-operative Laundry Is in Prospect. 

CATAWBA COUNTY, North Carolina, is the finest 
example in the South — so far as I know — of what 
co-operation will do for a community, and the 
heart and center of the movement in Catawba is 
the "Catawba Co-operative Creamery Company." 

This creamery, whose new building was recently dedi- 
cated, was organized June i, 1910. A statement of its 
progress since that time is given in the following table : 

Number of patrons when organized 38 

Number of cream patrons now 204 

Number of egg patrons, about 400 

Amount paid for butter fat (first year) $14,868 

Amount paid for butter fat (second year) $33,015 » 

Amount paid for butter fat (third year) $32,638 

Details of business for the year just ended : 

Total sales $51,935 

Egg sales $16,431 

Cream sales $10,390 

Pounds of butter made 99,917 

Number dozen eggs received 78,579 

Average price paid for butter fat for the year, 30c. per pound. 
Average price paid for eggs for the year, 21c. per dozen. 

It will be noted that this is a combination creamery and 
egg-collecting society; and it is going to do a number of 
other things before getting grown. The Catawba people 



have the right idea in thinking that when they have the 
machinery for a business perfected, they might as well use 
this machinery for all it is worth. They hadn't been run- 
ning two months before they found out that they had started 
with too small a number of cows (300) to make the busi- 
ness pay unless they took on some side line. So they 
got together and decided that the wagons that were col- 
lecting the milk from the patrons might as well collect their 
eggs also; and this is what they proceeded to arrange for. 

The net result of both activities is that the farmers have 
received from one to four cents a dozen extra profit on their 
eggs by working co-operatively; and they have received 
about twice as much for their creamery butter as they would 
have received for ordinary farm butter. As I write this, the 
creamery butter brings from 30 to 37 cents a pound, while 
ordinary farm butter is sold for from 15 to 20 cents a pound. 

Moreover, the creamery, which started with $1,500 capital 
stock borrowed from the bank ($1,000 being spent for 
equipment, while a building was rented in which to conduct 
the business), now has equipment worth $3,500 and their 
new building is worth $3,500 and lot $1,500. 

I Perhaps the chief reason why this creamery has suc- 
ceeded so notably while many other southern creameries 
have failed ,is that the Catawba creamery is operated 
squarely on the co-operative principle. Each patron is ex- 
pected to take one or more shares of stock at the par value 
of $10, but on this he receives only 6 per cent interest, all 
the profits being divided among patrons in proportion to 
the amount of business furnished. At one time profits 
■\^ere allowed to accumulate for some time, so that at one 
meeting the stockholders found an accumulation of $1,000 
in profits in the treasury. Now, however, the plan is to 
pay every member at the end of each month the exact 
amount realized from his cream or eggs, less the necessary 
deduction for the management and upkeep of the business. 
In other words, the patron not only gets paid cash for his 


products every month, but he gets a monthly dividend on 
his investment in the shape of increased prices received for 
his product, through co-operative marketing. 

But, of course, not even the co-operative principle, or 
anything else, would have enabled the Catawba creamery 
to succeed without efficient, capable men in charge. If 
most of the credit for starting the enterprise belongs to 
Mr. J. A. Conover, certainly most of the credit for making 
it a success belongs to W. J. Shuford, the wide-awake man- 
ager, who combines practical business sense with vision 
and enthusiasm. Mr. Shuford looks after the business of 
buying and selling, collections, correspondence, etc., attend- 
ing to all of this at a salary of $50 a month, in connection 
with his other business interests. The butter maker at- 
tends to making the butter, shipping and receiving cream, 
pasteurizing, testing, etc., and has an assistant who acts 
as bookkeeper. As usual, however, one finds back of a 
good official a good board of directors. "We have nine 
good men, three selected each year for a three-year term," 
said Mr. Shuford to me, "and the great secret of success 
is that they have worked consistently for the good of the 
company, and with no desire to unload brothers or nephews 
or special friends on the creamery." 

Cream is collected three times a week at a cost of about 
2^/2 cents per pound of butter fat. Six routes are conducted, 
and I was told that each driver makes about twenty miles a 
day. After the route is properly developed, the driver is 
paid a regular salary. Until then he gets one cent a dozen 
on all the eggs he collects; three cents a pound on all 
butter fat, and a commission on the cream separators he 

What I mainly wish to point out in writing this chapter, 
however, is how progress in one line stimulates progress 
in all lines. I do not think it is too much to say that the 
success of this co-operative creamery has made Catawba 
County a new county. The people have a confidence in 
themselves that they never had before ; they have developed 


a business ability they never had before, and in the not dis- 
tant future we shall doubtless have people from all parts 
of the United States, and even from foreign lands, visiting 
Catawba County to see an example of what the spirit of 
co-operation will do for a farming community. The people 
started with the co-operative creamery ; then they began to 
collect eggs; now they have begun to ship poultry. A 
farmers' mutual insurance association, of which about 1,500 
Catawba farmers are members, has for years insured them 
against fire at a cost of 15 cents on the $100. Moreover, 
the creamery patrons buy fertilizer and feed in carload lots. 
Latest of all is a Farmers' Building and Loan Association, 
and before a great while they will doubtless have a co- 
operative laundry in connection with the co-operative 
creamery. A co-operative selling agency in connection with 
the creamery is also being worked out — a sort of farmers' 

Moreover, from the Hickory creamery have gone out 
waves of influence that have affected all the citizenship of 
the county. A good county fair has been organized. A 
wide-awake county commissioner of agriculture is. regularly 
employed. There are thirty-five local tax school districts 
in the county, and two townships have voted $50,000 bonds 
for road building. A county superintendent of schools 
gives his whole time to the work. An appropriation for 
the extermination of hookworm disease was made some 
time ago, with the result that one county commissioner said 
that it was the best money he had ever had a hand in 

Altogether, therefore, one has only to breathe the air of 
Catawba to get thoroughly charged with the electric spirit 
of progress that is remaking the county. 

Consider, for example, the new Farmers' Building and 
Loan Association, perhaps the first thing of its kind in the 
South. When Mr. Shuford called a meeting of men to 'help 
organize it, he had present the president of the First Na- 


tional Bank, the mayor, the manager of the Piedmont 
Wagon Company, and other leading men who would not 
have had any faith in the business ability of farmers five 
years ago. At this meeting the following plan for the 
association was adopted : 

"The purpose of the Association is to combine the payments of the 
members into a fund for making loans to each other, and for the pur- 
pose of buying and improving lands, buildings and purchase of imple- 
ments, machinery and stock, and for bettering conditions on the farm. 

"The organization to be made under the building and loan law of 
North Carolina, and to be managed by a board of directors who, with 
a president, vice-president and secretary and treasurer, shall have sole 
charge of the business, subject to such by-laws and regulations as the 
stockholders shall adopt. 

"All money received shall be placed in a general fund, from which 
all loans shall be made on approved real estate security, or on the paid- 
in value of their stock, installments and interest to be paid monthly. 
The stock shall be issued with a par value of $100 payable in propor- 
tionate installments, either monthly, quarterly or semi-annually." 

Sooner or later a co-operative store will doubtless be 
established also; and as I have intimated, plans are now 
being developed whereby patrons who have anything to 
sell will be brought into touch with any who wish to buy. 
For example, if one farmer wishes to buy four or five pigs 
or ten bushels of peas, he will be put into communication 
with a farmer who has these to sell. 

"And instead of sending North for breakfast strip and 
having our townspeople pay 35 cents a pound for it," said 
Manager Shuford, "we are going to arrange to keep this 
money at home in the near future by doing meat curing 
of the finer sort." 

Another instance of the progressive spirit of the Catawba 
people and of their new faith in themselves is found in 
the organization of a sweet potato marketing association 
to ship and sell Catawba's annual 300,000 bushel crop. 
"We sent out a notice the other day," said Mr. Shuford, 
"and promptly got sixty-five farmers to the meeting. A 
few years ago not half a dozen would have come." This 


organization will not only undertake the marketing of the 
sweet potato crop, but an effort will be made to get all the 
farmers to grow just the type of potatoes demanded by the 
northern market. In other words, it will seek not only 
to save the middleman's profits, but also to get extra profits 
through standardization and improved methods of grading. 

The Catawba folks are also making a determined effort 
to have their farm schools train for farm life. The fact of 
the business is that if anything is found anywhere in 
Catawba County now that "hadn't ought to be" a wholesale 
war is immediately declared against it, no matter how 
ancient its title. More than this, the Catawba folks are 
even going out of their way to find out whether any bad 
conditions exist that they haven't known about. They are 
now preparing to have a "rural survey" of the county and 
have already made a survey of one or two school districts — 
finding out such things as how many farmers in the district 
read no papers, how many children are not going to school, 
how many people in the district are not church members, 
how many children in the district are attending college or 
high school, etc. 

Of course, a wide-awake people are not going to be satis- 
fied with bad roads, and there is now great enthusiasm over 
the sand-clay roads that are being built and which are better 
in many respects than the macadam roads that cost three or 
four times as much per mile. 

The county's country schools are not kept open as long 
as they should be, but here again the leaders are keeping 
up a campaign of "agitation, irritation and education" for 
better things. 

In short, the Catawba folks have been waked up by co- 
operation, they have been inspired by an ideal of just what 
a farming county may be, and as Mr. Foster, the county 
demonstration agent, said to me, "We are not going to let 
anything stop us." 

I met a lot of interesting men on my latest trip to Catawba 


— men who are carrying on this creamery work and poultry 
work, marketing work, etc., but the two most interesting 
persons I met there were women : prophetic and significant 
persons they were. These were Mrs. John W. Robinson 
and Mrs. Gordon Wilfong, leaders in the two new clubs of 
"United Farm Women" organized in Catawba. 

No sort of movement for rural co-operation or for the 
development of a greater rural civilization can win large 
success unless it recognizes and makes room for the coun- 
try woman; and it is also true that the men will never 
organize the women. Our farm women must themselves 
develop leaders for their own work. The inspiring fact is 
that this is just what is happening in Catawba County. I 
don't know when I have ever felt a keener joy in having 
some hand in this organization of country life than I felt 
as I talked with a young farmer's wife who has caught a 
vision of the possibilities of organizing the country women, 
and, as Mr. Foster would say, "is not going to let anything 
stop her" until the result is achieved. 

"We have pretty good conditions in our neighborhood," she 
told me, "but I can never be satisfied simply to have the best 
social conditions in my immediate community and the best 
schools for my own children, if I know that other districts 
in the county are yet wholly untouched by the new spirit. 
I want to reach the stay-at-home woman who feels that 
nobody wants her at a meeting. And the only way I know 
to do this is to have a county meeting and get the women 
in each school district who are interested to come and then 
put on them the responsibility of reaching these other 

Finally, Mr. Farmer, Catawba is only a good illustration 
of what your county might be if you would only get it 
waked up. Why not wake it up? 



Florida Growers Spend About $100,000 in Advertising and 
Opening Up New Markets, Thereby Greatly Increasing 
Prices and Profits — "California Fruit Growers' Exchange" 
a Marvel of Efficiency — Central Organisation Advises, 
Locals Act — Blanket Freight Rate an Important Factor — 
Co-operation Cuts Cost Packing and Handling in Half and 
Reduces Cost of Distribution to 3 Per Cent — Associations 
Run Their Own "Orchard Supply Company." 

NOWHERE have growers of agricultural produce 
achieved greater success through organization 
and co-operation than has been won by the 
growers of oranges, lemons and grapefruit in 
California and Florida. I have before me as I write this 
a letter from Mr. L. D. Jones, general manager of the 
Florida Citrus Exchange, in which he sums up the first 
four years' activity of the Florida organization as follows : 
"Four years ago Florida citrus fruits were comparatively 
unknown outside of some of the larger markets and a por- 
tion of the Southern states. Last season the Florida 
Citrus Exchange oranges and grapefruit were sold in nearly 
all the markets from Portland, Me., to Portland, Ore., and 
from Detroit to New Orleans; the energetic advertising 
campaigns that have been conducted by the Exchange, and 
the superior manner in which the fruit was graded and 
packed, extending their markets to this extent. It must 
be understood that approximately $100,000 was spent in 
advertising Florida fruits by the Exchange, at an infin- 



itesimal cost to the individual grower. Again are the 
beneficent results of co-operation in strong evidence. Dur- 
ing this progress along lines mentioned, the prices of fruit 
have steadily advanced; grove property has greatly en- 
hanced in value, which has, as a consequence, strengthened 
all lines of business in the citrus belt of the State. 

"As evidence of the continually increased price from year 
to year, the following audited figures are given showing the 
average f. o. b. Florida prices per box : Four seasons ago, 
$1.15; three seasons ago, $1.51; two years ago, $1.93; last 
season, $1.96. 

"Thus it will be seen that in the four years' existence of the 
Florida Citrus Exchange that it has actually raised the 
average net price per box 81 cents. The statement, then, 
that grove property has been greatly enhanced in value, 
and that all lines of business in the citrus belt have been 
greatly strengthened, can be readily understood." 

It is in California, however, that the most remarkable 
success has been won through the medium of the largest 
business organization of growers in the United States — 
the "California Fruit Growers' Exchange." For efficiency 
it is to be compared with the Standard Oil Company. 

The California citrus fruit industry, -it should be noted, 
has passed through all the trials of disorganization and 
organization. Some years ago, for lack of a marketing 
organization, a large part of the crop of oranges remained 
on the trees in the summer. Residents there still recall 
how the sight of golden harvests ungleaned everywhere 
advertised the lack of an adequate distributing system. 
The growers were at the mercy of the local buyers, who 
divided the territory or fixed a maximum price. Twenty 
years ago overproduction was feared, though California 
had only 5,000 carloads of oranges to market annually. 
Now that the growers have been organized, no difficulty 
is experienced in distributing 45,000 carloads a year. 

The organization of the citrus fruit industry began with 


the formation of local associations, the membership in 
these ranging from four to 200. These local associations, 
of course, could only sell to local buyers or to representa- 
tives of distant buyers ; and under this system, or lack of 
system, no efficient distribution of the crop could be 
secured. One association would not know but that another 
might have already oversupplied the very market to which 
it was preparing to ship. Moreover, they were likely to 
glut the larger markets and undersupply many smaller 
cities willing to pay better prices. 

When local associations thus proved inadequate, some 
of them federated and formed "The California Fruit 
Growers' Exchange." Eighty per cent of the growers are 
now organized into co-operative associations and 65 per 
cent belong to this California Fruit Growers' Exchange. 
It has handled during the last nine years $121,000,000 
worth of products. 

And now let us briefly describe the work of the local 
associations and the general organization. 

The local association grades and packs, and sometimes 
picks the fruit of the members. Fruit of the same grade 
is put together and each member receives his share of the 
receipts, according to grades. Fruit of the best quality 
is sold under the general brand of the central exchange 
and also under the brand of the local. Thus a general 
reputation for the fruit of the California Exchange is de- 
veloped while at the same time the growers in each local 
are encouraged to make the brand of their own particular 
locality as famous as possible. 

The 115 local associations working as indicated are 
divided into seventeen district exchanges. The district 
exchange orders cars for the locals and keeps a record of 
all cars sent out, and each district exchange has one director 
in the general State exchange. 

Then the central exchange acts as a clearing house for 
collecting telegraphic news of the trade, for receiving offers 


for fruit, and for redistributing this information to all the 
district exchanges. The central exchange, however, as we 
should make plain in the beginning, does not sell a single 
box of fruit. It simply provides at cost the facilities 
through which 7,000 growers sell their fruit to jobbers at 
distant markets. It employs banded agents to drum up 
trade and to report price fluctuations and market conditions, 
in all the principal cities of the United States and Canada. 
If a buyer makes an offer to one of these agents, he has 
no authority to accept it, but telegraphs it to the central 
exchange which in turn passes it on to the district ex- 
change, and the district exchange to the local, which has 
the particular brand of oranges wanted. The reply or 
return offer is sent back to the agent by the same way. 
Thus the agent acts only upon instructions from the shipper. 
The reserved rights which the shippers have are defined 
in contracts between the California Fruit Growers' Ex- 
change and the local associations as follows: 

"Each shipper reserves to itself the right to regulate and control its. 
own shipments, to use its own judgment, to decide for itself when and 
in what amounts it shall ship ; to what market it shall ship ; where its, 
products shall be sold, and, except at auction points, the price it is will- 
ing to receive, fully reserving the right of free competition with all 
other shippers, including other members of this organization, unham- 
pered and uncontrolled by anyone." 

Thus it will be seen that the central exchange does not 
try to control prices by "scanting" a market or by fixing- 
a minimum price in all markets. In the West it has the 
field to itself. In the South and East it is in competition 
with European and Florida fruit. The Exchange does not 
try to obtain the profits which a trust gets from fixing- 
prices. It does, however, acquire the profits of controlling 
prices by as even and wide a distribution of fruit as pos- 
sible. No market is glutted and no market is undersup- 
plied. The grower receives a better price for his fruit, 
while the fruit is distributed at a decreased cost and the 


consumer obtains it at a lower price than formerly. 

The local association has the complete power to deter- 
mine the diversion and final destination of each car, and 
of deciding upon the price which it is willing to accept for 
€ach shipment. The Eastern Shore of Virginia Produce 
Exchange, as readers know, practices the opposite method, 
determining at the central office the destination of ship- 
ments and all prices for the growers. 

An arrangement which will doubtless surprise the aver- 
age reader is this: The railroads have granted the Cali- 
fornia Exchange a blanket freight rate ; that is to say, the 
same rate whether the fruit is shipped to Kansas City or 
New York. Some cars may be stopped by telegram in 
Arizona or New Mexico, if the prices are better in those 
sections ; other cars may go on to Texas, or if prices are not 
good there, they may be diverted to Kansas and Minnesota; 
or they may be kept going on to Pittsburgh, New York or 
to Toronto. The same freight rate obtains whether the 
car finally stops in New Mexico or in Montreal. At any 
point en route the car may be stopped or diverted. As 
Prof. Harry Clark says : 

"In the Los Angeles office there is a card index for every car, tell- 
ing its brand and on what railroad it is being shipped and its destina- 
tion. When a telegram is received stating that the people in a certain 
city do not care for oranges, the clerk in Los Angeles steps to his card 
catalog and finds what cars are headed for that market. At the same 
time he has received a telegram that other cities are eager for oranges, 
hecause the taste of certain cities, just like that of individuals, varies 
from day to day. The manager telegraphs and catches the car headed 
to the city which does not want oranges. Perhaps this car is 100 miles 
from that city. He stops it immediately, has it switched on to another 
train and sent to the city which does want it. In that way every box 
of California oranges is sold where it is wanted at good prices and 
losses are reduced to a minimum." 

The fruit is sold either through orders received by agents 
from jobbers or at auction in the large cities. A part of 
the fruit is sold f. o. b. at an agreed upon price, subject to 


inspection and condition on arrival; and part f. o. b. at a. 
certain price which is not subject to inspection on arrival. 
When fruit is sold by the latter method a deduction from 
the price is made for cash at the time of shipment. 

One more important activity of the organized citrus 
growers should be noted. The 115 local associations own 
the stock in a $1,000,000 orchard supply company. This 
company was organized because the price of box lumber 
was almost doubled in one year. The company has bought 
much timberland, manufactures boxes for the members 
and in 1911-12 sold to the locals at cost $2,068,591 worth 
of boxes, labels, tissue paper wrappers and general orchard 
supplies. It has also handled as much as six tons of vetch 
seed for members in a year. • Through the co-operative pur- 
chase of supplies the cost of packing oranges has been re- 
duced from 60 cents or more per box, the amount charged 
when the buyer packed the fruit, to an average cost of 33 
cents per box, while the cost of packing lemons has been 
reduced from $1 or more to an average cost of 60 cents 
per box. A co-operative fire insurance company gives pro- 
tection at remarkably low cost. "After six years," it is 
said, "the losses are less than the actual premiums of regu- 
lar fire insurance companies." 

All the facilities provided by the central exchange or 
district exchanges are also furnished at cost. In 1912-13 
the total cost of distributing oranges and lemons to whole- 
salers amounted to only 3.13 per cent on the f. o. b. Cali- 
fornia returns, or less than 2^ per cent on the gross re- 
ceipts. Just what an achievement in collective marketing 
we have here is emphasized when we recall that as a rule 
it costs the individual farmer in the United States from 
7 to 20 per cent on the gross sales to market his crop to the 
wholesaler. Since the formation of the Exchange the 
cost of handling and packing has been reduced by almost 

One more remarkable fact about the Exchange is that 


its $16,000,000 to $20,000,000 business a year ago is trans- 
acted with only $1,700 of paid-in capital. The local associ- 
ations move the crop East' on their own credit, the growers 
either waiting for the cash returns until the money reaches 
them from the jobbers or securing an advance from the 

In conclusion, it is interesting to note the method by 
■which the Exchange is financed. An arbitrary assessment 
for th6 cost of handling is determined at the beginning of 
each year. This assessment is based upon estimated ship- 
ments and upon the probable expenses, and includes such 
items as salaries of agents, telegraphic services and legal 
fees. The central exchange allots the amount of the assess- 
ment each month upon each district exchange at so much 
per box, based on the number of boxes shipped. An adjust- 
ment is made of the surplus or deficit at the end of each year. 

The central exchange, district exchanges and the local 
associations are organized Oh purely co-operative principles. 
The local associations and the district exchanges are either 
stock companies with a fixed dividend or non-stock com- 
panies with no dividends. The central exchange is a non- 
profit corporation. It performs its services at their actual 
cost and declares no dividends. There are no profits to 
quarrel over. The local associations receive all the pro- 
ceeds minus the assessment for running expenses, which is 
prorated according to the amount of products marketed. 



How the Planters Around Scott, Ark., Got Together, Formed 
the "Scott Cotton Growers' Association," and Marketed the 
First Year 7,554 Bales of Cotton and 63 Carloads of Seed — 
Profits Ranged as High as $5 a Bale on Lint and $4 a Ton 
on Seed — Total Business Nearly Half a Million Dollars. 

WHILE other southern farmers have been busy dis- 
cussing this or that plan of cotton marketing, the 
planters of Scott, Ark., have been busy not dis- 
cussing, but, in so far as they are concerned, 
actually solving the difiSculty. 

Their solution of the best viray to market the cotton crop 
of their section was by the formation of "The Scott Cotton 
Growers' Association." This association is composed of 
twenty-four planters from the country immediately sur- 
rounding the railroad station of Scott, Ark., representing 
30,000 acres of cotton. 

The objects of the association as set forth in its constitu- 
tion are: 

(1) To produce cotton from pure seed; 
(3) To secure uniformity in ginning; 

(3) To sell cotton in even running lots ; 

(4) To deal as nearly directly with the mills as possible; 

(5) To act in co-operation with the United States Department of 
Agriculture toward accomplishing these objects, and to take such fur- 
ther action as may be practicable to produce better cotton and improve 
the prevailing methods of handling and marketing same. 

The objects as set forth above sound like some of the 
rules for good behavior in a book of etiquette ; and yet when 



one who is familiar with the cotton market stops to think 
it becomes evident that these people have struck good and 
hard at the root of many of the difficulties that we en- 

In order that their object should not be a merely written 
formula but an accomplishment in fact, these cotton farm- 
ers went to work with a system and determination that 
could only result in success. The first thing they did was 
to build at Scott a sample room. Means for doing this and 
for operating the association were provided for by the 
iixing of a membership fee of lo cents a bale from each 
member, according to the number of bales shipped by that 
member the year before the organization of the association. 
In addition, each member agrees to pay a commission of 
50 cents a bale for every bale handled by the association. 
These assessments and commissions assured them sufficient 
funds to warrant their employment of a secretary, whose 
business it is to look after the affairs of the association. 

The first business of the association was the securing of 
improved seed. These were purchased in carload lots and 
distributed to the members at cost. The association lays 
down the rules for the ginning and baling of the cotton, 
and thus having planted the same variety of seed and hav- 
ing ginned and handled the cotton in the same way, it 
became comparatively easy for the association to be as- 
sured of uniformity in the cotton. Each farmer draws his 
own sample and delivers it to the sample room, together 
-with a statement of the number of bales corresponding to 
the sample. The buyer inspects these samples and buys 
from the secretary the number of bales he desires. The 
several planters furnishing the samples selected are notified 
how and when to ship, and the secretary receives the pay 
for the cotton and forwards to each planter his pro rata. 

"What guarantee do you have that the cotton will come 
up to the sample?" we asked Mr. Brown, the secretary. 

His answer was : "We admit to membership only such 
men as we believe will make up any deficiency in this 


matter." The rock upon which so many associations of 
this kind split is the failure of its members to properly 
support it. They will live up to their agreement to ship 
all their products through the association so long as the 
association can secure them decidedly better prices; but 
the moment the association's prices happen to fall near the 
price offered upon the open market, they begin to figure 
that they can save that 50 cents a bale, and so the next 
thing that is known the amount of cotton handled by the 
association is so small that it ceases to command the respect 
of the buyers, and the result is another failure in attempted 

The breaking up of associations of this kind by the buy- 
ers is frequently accomplished by the knowledge of this 
failing. The legitimate buyer has every reason to encour- 
age such an organization, but there are many "free lances" 
in the buying field, especially in that of cotton, who make 
their largest profit by undergrading rather than from a 
legitimate commission. Such men soon learn that an as- 
sociation is rather inimical to their business, and the artificial 
boosting of prices so as to induce its members to desert it 
is not an uncommon and, we are sorry to say, is a frequently 
successful, way of breaking up such an organization. When 
asked what penalty the association inflicted for the violation 
of the agreement to allow the association to handle all his 
cotton, Mr. Brown answered: "We attempt to allow only 
such men to join as we know will stick to their agreement. 
We have dropped one or two for violating it." So the 
penalty is immediate expulsion, and it is none too severe. 

The association also handles the cottonseed of its mem- 
bers, for which service it receives 50 cents a ton in com- 
missions. The seed are sampled and weighed by the buyer 
and owner at the owner's property, but are bought by the 
association. By being in a position to handle and supply 
both cotton and seed in large lots, both guaranteed as to 
quality, the association is able to attract the attention of the 
best buyers who are able to buy at less expense, and so are 


naturally able to offer better prices for the goods. On the 
other hand the association is in a position not only to know 
the true grades of its goods, but to keep informed as to the 
best markets. 

The first year's business — 1913 — shows that the association 
handled 7,554 bales of cotton averaging 521 pounds in weight. 
This cotton was sold for an average price of 11.64 cents per 
pound, f . o. b. the member's shipping point. The total price 
realized for this cotton was $458,171.48. Of cottonseed they 
sold 63 carloads — 1,388 tons — at an average price of $21.80 
per ton, f. o. b., or a total of $30,176.07. In other words, the 
association in the first year of its existence did a business 
amounting to $488,347.55 — ^nearly half a million dollars. 

The test of the value of any organization of this kind is 
the amount it is able to earn for its members above what 
they would have received for their product and over and 
above that received by the member of the community who 
is not a member. With the data at hand it is not possible 
to give this in exact figures, but frequent instances came to 
light during the season's operations where the association 
sold cotton for from one-half to one cent above that received 
for cotton of equal grade, raised in the community but han- 
dled by the individual. In a number of other instances 
when the home mills were paying $20 a ton for cottonseed 
and these were the only markets for the man who was sell- 
ing independently, the association sold seed for its members 
outside the State for $24 a ton. 

A premium of from $2.50 to $5 a bale on cotton, plus 
freight and all of the ordinary charges of shipping, and a 
similar premium up to $4 a ton on seed, it would seem 
should be a strong enough inducement not only to hold 
its membership, but to attract others. The commission 
and membership dues, as compared with the ordinary 
charges for shipping and selling cotton or cottonseed are 
so small that they are practically negligible ; and yet they 
have afforded the association ample revenues for operation. 

But this association is only in its infancy, and has already 


learned from its first year's experience how it can improve 
its work. At first each farmer drew his own sample and 
delivered it to the association sample room. Under these 
conditions there was not that uniformity of samples which 
would follow had these samples been drawn by one expert, 
and, as a consequence, the cotton did not always come up 
to the sample. This called for an adjustment and a mak- 
ing good which, to say the least, was a disagreeable neces- 
sity and one that the association has taken steps to avoid 
another year, by employing an expert cotton buyer to do 
the sampling and grading. With this addition to their 
working machinery the association will be in a position to 
sell without the buyer even seeing the sample, and thus will 
be able to extend the limits of its market to cover the whole 
world. It is their desire, everything else being equal, to 
deal with local buyers; but they will thus always be in a 
position to deal with the mills direct and so will be able to 
force all other buyers not only to give them the maximum 
price for their goods, but to treat them fairly in all other 

There can be no doubt that while others have been dis- 
cussing how to solve the problem of the best way to sell 
cotton, these people have taken the first steps, and long 
steps at that, toward doing it. As they gain more expe- 
rience, improvements upon their present plans will no 
doubt suggest themselves and be adopted; but even with- 
out these improvements they have a plan that is a long step 
in advance of the old haphazard methods. 

The officers of this association are: J. R. Alexander, 
president; H. T. Brown, secretary-treasurer; J. R. Alex- 
ander, Tom Fletcher, B. R. Costin, H. T. Brown and M. L. 
Walt, directors. 



A Mississippi Farmer Tells How He Is Paying a Non-Mutual 
Company $11.66 Per Year for Each $1,000 Insurance, While 
Mr. W. I. Shuford Reports That in a Farmers' Mutual for 
Nine Years the Cost Averaged Only $1.50 for Each $i,poo 
Insured — $3.63 Average a Safer Rule, However — Farmers 
Should Also Carry Accident Insurance and Live Stock 

A FORM of co-operation that should never be over- 
looked is that of mutual insurance. In a later 
chapter on "What Co-operation Has Done for 
French Farmers," we mention the great good the 
farmers of France have achieved in this respect, and it is a 
lesson our American farmers should take to heart. 

Recently the writer received two letters from farmers in 
the same State (Mississippi), complaining about the ab- 
sence of farmers' mutual insurance companies in that State. 
Farmer No. i said: "The writer, previous to 1910, was a 
farmer in Maine for eight years, and during that time was 
a member of the Patrons of Husbandry, which organization 
in Maine has a mutual insurance association for the insur- 
ing of farm property which was very successful, the cost 
being almost nothing. Since coming to Mississippi I find 
that the insurance rates are almost prohibitive, some com- 
panies refusing to write farm insurance. I would like to 
inquire if the farmers' organizations in the South have 
anything of the kind." 

Farmer No. 2 wrote with even greater emphasis as fol- 
lows : "We are paying $35 a thousand for our farm insur- 



ance covering three years. For a like amount of farm 
insurance in Illinois we pay $17.50 a thousand. In other 
words, the cost here is 100 per cent more. Now, who gets 
the extra money and why are we submitting to such ex- 
orbitant rates without kick? Isn't it about time the south- 
ern land owners began to look this matter up with a view 
to cheaper insurance?" 

Knowing that the Farmers' Mutual Fire Insurance As- 
sociation of North Carolina is one of the most successful 
organizations of this kind in America, we brought these 
inquiries to the attention of the president, who wrote the 
author of this book as follows: 

"We now have 19,724 members and $17,570,886 of in- 
surance in force at the end of the last fiscal year. We had paid 
losses during the year amounting to $43,438.17, and had on 
deposit in the various branches $23,056.06. 

"The average cost of insurance for all the branches per 
year has been $3.63 on one thousand dollars. This low 
rate is due to the fact that ours is a mutual insurance organ- 
ization sure enough and not in name only. We do not 
undertake the creation of a surplus to be divided among 
policyholders or to put into stocks, bonds, buildings, etc. 
Our paid officers are few and their salaries are quite modest. 
For instance, there are only two officers for the state as- 
sociation receiving salaries, and in the county branches 
only the secretary-treasurer, who is really the manager for 
his county, receives compensation. 

"Each county branch is independent in the conduct of its 
business and has no liability for losses occurring outside its 
own territorial limits. A branch, however, may embrace as 
many as three counties. 

"When a person becomes a member of a branch, which he 
does when he takes a policy of insurance, he pays $5 on 
$1,000 (or at that rate for a less amount), and at the same 
time pays an advance assessment into the protection fund. 
After that only when there is a loss by fire, wind, or light- 


ning in his branch does he have to pay anything more. 
Each branch is required to keep in its treasury one advance 
assessment so that losses may be promptly met. Agents are 
requested not to write over three-fourths of what is a con- 
servative cash value on any property, and not to take any 
risk where there is doubt as to the moral hazard or where 
property is heavily mortgaged. Nor are agents allowed to 
insure expensive dwellings that have been left by owners 
to be occupied by tenants." 

This letter gives notable information as to the mutual 
insurance movement as it affects an entire State. As to 
how one of the local branches of the same company has 
operated, the following statement, sent us by Mr. W. J. 
Shuford of Catawba County, N. C, in 1914, is illuminating: 

"We have 2,268 members in the two counties (Catawba 
and Burke) and $1,786,890 insurance in force. The man- 
agement is invested in the hands of the president, vice- 
president, secretary and treasurer, and a board of directors 
of four in Catawba and two in Burke Counties, who are 
elected for the term of one year. 

"The president receives a salary of two dollars per day 
and expenses for the time spent in the performance of any 
work for the association. The secretary-treasurer is 
paid a regular monthly salary, and devotes a good part of 
his time to the business. 

"There is a supervisor in each township who passes on 
all the risks insured; and there is also a local agent who 
gets a small commission. No property is insured for over 
three-fourths of the actual cash value. The supervisor in 
each township assists in adjusting losses in his township. 

"No building is insured in any incorporated town that is 
within 200 feet of the nearest building and its contents 
must not exceed $1,500 in value. 

"The losses occurring are paid by a pro rata assessment 
on each member, and must be paid within sixty days from 
date of notification. The assessments have been only 15 
cents on the $100 annually since 1905." 


The statement that assessments in Mr. Shuford's branch 
had been only 15 cents a year on the $100, or $1.50 per $1,000 
insured, as compared with a cost of $11.66% for each $1,000 
insured in our Mississippi friend's non-mutual company, 
seemed to us too good to be true, and we wrote Mr. Shuford 
to know if there was not some mistake in his figures. But 
he answered that there was none. The average of $3.63 
per year for each $1,000 insured, as reported for North 
Carolina as a whole, however, seems much more a realizable 
ideal in an average county. 

In any case the letters just given should leave no doubt 
as to how farmers may get lower insurance rates. If you 
live, in a county where a mutual fire insurance company 
exists, join it. If you do not live in such a section, then 
go ahead and organize your county. Then, if your county 
alone does" not furnish so large a company as you wish, 
federate it with one or more adjoining counties. If you 
have a county farmers' union or other county farmers' or- 
ganization, bring up the subject at your next meeting; if 
you have none, then call a meeting of leading farmers at 
some convenient time just to consider forming a mutual 
insurance company. Every farmer ought to have insur- 
ance, and he ought to have it at a lower rate than the 
regular companies give. 

As for the importance of insurance, it should be enough 
for you to think of the farm homes in your community 
one by one and imagine the trouble half of the owners 
would have in rebuilding if fire should destroy their homes. 

We ought to have mutual accident insurance also, and 
live stock insurance. The writer only last week, as this is 
written, made a small contribution to a neighbor farmer 
whose two mules were recently struck by lightning and 
killed. Now it is a good thing for neighbors to help a man 
in a case like this, but it is uncertain and unbusinesslike, 
and the policy of asking for gifts is not one to be encour- 
aged. In fact, thousands and thousands of farmers had 
rather go into debt and work their way out rather than 


ask any man for a cent — and one cannot help but admire 
such independence. At the same time, a man ought not to 
have the risk of being thrown in want or debt by accident 
of any kind — fire, storm, lightning or live stock disease, 
sometimes meaning a struggle for years to get back to where 
the owner was before. Every farmer ought to carry insurance 
against all these risks and it ought to be mutual insurance. 
After the local companies are organized, however, it is 
desirable to have them regularly inspected by the State 
insurance commissioner. We are reminded of this by the 
following letter from one State commissioner: 

"I find that frequently among the people generally con- 
ducting mutual associations intended solely for the benefit 
of policyholders that there is an inclination to oppose and 
even to resent official supervision. But any man who loves 
his State and who, will examine into the matter will find 
that no honest association need fear supervision and that 
it is only by supervision that irresponsible and dishonest 
concerns may be eliminated and honest and responsible 
concerns permitted to grow without being choked by 
noxious weeds. 

"Due to the fact that a number of irresponsible and utterly 
selfish men for their own benefit undertook to run such com- 
panies in this State previous to the establishment of the in- 
surance department, great injury was done to the cause." 

It is certainly very foolish for co-operative companies 
of any kind to object to thorough official inspection. It 
will frequently happen that a perfectly honest man will 
use very lax bookkeeping and accounting methods, and the 
members have a right to know that he will be checked up 
if this happens. 

One important reason for the great success of the co- 
operative stores movement in Wisconsin and Minnesota, as 
the writer found last year, is the regular system of audit- 
ing under the direction of the Right Relationship League, 
and regular expert auditing should be a feature of every 
co-operative enterprise. 



A Visit to Sir Horace Plunkett and What I Learned — Then 
a Visit to Kilkenny, Where I Found His Co-operation Ideas 
in Full Blast — The Ballyragget Co-operative Creamery and 
Poultry Society and the Story of Their Growth. 

IN IRELAND the farmers — or a great proportion of 
them — have become business men. And the rest are 
fast being waked up. That is the net result of Sir 
Horace Plunkett's co-operative movement begun 
twenty-five years ago, and which he says, world-famous 
though it has become, is as yet only in infancy. 

Sir Horace told me that it was in America that he got the 
inspiration for his great life work. It was when he was 
ranching out in Wyoming away in the 8o's. "I got 
into the American habit of looking at everything from a 
business point of view," he told me, "and when I came back 
to Ireland in '89 I simply resolved to study Ireland as a 
business proposition. To my mind the then most pressing 
question was neither home rule nor any other political 
issue, but how the people were going to make a living: 
a business proposition indeed, and an agricultural business 
proposition, since over two-thirds of Ireland's population 
was agricultural. And in solving this agricultural business 
proposition it seemed to me that we needed three things — 
Better Farming, Better Business, Better Living, but I saw 
that emphasis must be laid on the middle phrase, because 
only through better business could we get better farming 
or better living." 

"The problem of remaking rural life in Ireland, America 
or anywhere else, in fact," Sir Horace continued, "is like- 



wise threefold — (i) technical, (2) commercial, and (3) 
social; but the clearest and surest avenue of achievement 
is through the commercial feature. First, make the farmer 
a better business man and all these other things will be 
added unto him." 

This is the new conception of agricultural progress that 
is beginning to take possession of men interested in rural 
progress the world over. To make two blades of grass grow 
where one grew before : this has been regarded as the end of 
agricultural progress from the day Dean Swift set down 
the opinion of the King of Brobdingnag until now. But 
at last a change has come. The business organization of urban 
industry — the systematic, scientific, commercial manage- 
ment of urban production — has been for generations now 
an accomplished fact and the human race has benefited 
incalculably thereby; and Ireland and Denmark are now 
teaching us "that there are possibilities for a hardly less 
momentous business organization of rural industry — not 
only increased production, but the systematic, scientific, 
commercial management of this increased production. 

No wonder, therefore, that Mr. Robert A. Anderson, 
secretary of the Irish Agricultural Organization Society, 
remarked to me as I was leaving his Dublin office: "Of 
one fact we are rather proud, and that is, it has been our 
good fortune in Ireland to set an example in agricultural 
co-operation for all English-speaking peoples." 

This is, indeed, exactly what Ireland has done; and our 
American farmer, whose richer opportunities, better facil- 
ities, and more democratic atmosphere should have won for 
us a position of leadership, must go to Ireland to learn the 
lessons needed for all America. In Ireland, which has a 
population about twice that of one of our average States, 
there are now 312 creameries with an annual turnover of 
$10,000,000; 166 agricultural societies; 237 co-operative 
banks, and 87 miscellaneous co-operative societies — ^poultry, 
beekeeping, bacon-curing, etc. 

Suppose we had in each county in the United States two 


co-operative creameries, one or two farmers' co-operative 
banks, and one or two co-operative societies for the sale 
of poultry and truck : such a development would correspond 
to what has been accomplished in Ireland. 

Of course, all this has not been brought about in a day. 
The movement started away back in 1889 when Mr. Horace 
Plunkett began to tell the Irish farmers that what they 
needed was less politics and more business — or at any rate, 
a good deal more business along with their politics. For a 
long time his voice was as that of one crying in the wilder- 
ness. He held fifty meetings and pleaded with fifty different 
groups of farmers, asking each group to join in some co- 
operative business organization, before a single enthusiastic 
response varied the long monotony of deaf -eared failure. But 
Mr. Plunkett was an Irishman terribly in earnest; and 
anybody who is terribly in earnest is likely to go a long 
way — especially if he is an Irishman. 

"Beware when the Lord Almighty lets loose a thinker on 
the planet," says Emerson, in words as nearly as I can recall 
them; and Mr. Plunkett was a thinker. He was also a 
patriot with a yearning for the uplift of his oppressed and 
poverty-stricken homeland. He had all the patriotism to 
which Erin's poets and orators have given such vivid and 
eloquent expression ; but his patriotism was to take a form 
of constructive work rather than inflammatory eloquence. 

The Irish farmer, at that time, was the joint prey of 
landlords and "gombeen-men," the latter phrase being 
used to describe a class of credit or "time" merchants whose 
exorbitant time prices kept the poor peasants in virtual 
slavery. What profit the landlord did not get in the shape 
of rent, the "gombeen-man" got when the money for the 
farmers' products came in. Or, to be exact, I should say 
that the credit merchant took the farmers' goods at prices 
named by himself, and credited them on the farmer's ac- 
count, and about all the poor soil tiller knew was that he 
was getting deeper and deeper into debt all the time. It 
was our blood-sucking "credit system" of the South of a 


generation ago in an even more abominable form; and the 
"gombeen-men," furnishing not only supplies, but liquor 
as well, often took further advantage of the peasant after 
getting him full of drink. 

In a word, middlemen were absorbing all the profits of 
the Irish farmer. Nothing was done directly. There was 
a circuitous route from the farmer's produce to the city 
consumer, with tolls taken all along the way ; and there was 
a circuitous route between the fertilizer maker or implement 
manufacturer and his farmer purchaser, with tolls taken all 
along the way, as Mr. Horace Plunkett kept saying with a 
sort of damnable iteration. 

Another thing that Sir Horace saw (I now say Sir Horace 
because the King of England has since knighted Mr. Plun- 
kett in recognition of his great services) was that if the 
farmers were to succeed, they must organize and co-operate. 
Only a considerable number of farmers working together 
could sell their products to advantage — a small farmer can- 
not profitably ship a dozen or two eggs or a pound or two of 
butter or a basket or two of vegetables, whereas, it is very 
different if a hundred farmers together wish to ship their 
combined product of eggs, poultry or truck — and they must 
work together along very businesslike and scientific lines. 
He saw that the farmers were suffering not only because 
the middlemen's tolls were excessive, but also because their 
failure to unite prevented them from giving consumers uni- 
form, high-quality products. He declared they must fur- 
nish "one good kind of butter — not many samples of bad 
and good kinds; a uniformly fresh egg — not a dozen stale 
ones of different shapes and sizes, with occasional fresh ones 
rubbing shells with their dingy neighbors ;" and that they 
must furnish regular supplies at regular intervals — not three 
long weeks of famine and then a week of surfeit. 

"Better Farming, Better Business, Better Living" — this 
was the threefold program which Sir Horace advocated in 
his crusade through Ireland; more productive farming 
methods, better methods of buying and selling, and a richer 


rural life. And he kept everlastingly at it, in season and 
out of season. After holding fifty meetings he got one 
society started in 1889, and 1890 ended without another one 
being added to this lonesome first-born. But in 1891 the 
number jumped to seventeen; next year there were twenty- 
five ; next year, thirty ; next year, thirty-three ; and then tlae 
day of small things had ended. In 1895 the number of 
societies doubled ; in 1896 the one hundred mark was passed ; 
in 1898, the two hundred mark; in 1899, the four hundred 
mark — and now there are more than eight hundred. The 
Irish Agricultural Organization Society — popularly known 
as the "I. A. O. S." — is the head of the movement, with Sir 
Horace as the head of the I. A. O. S., and Mr. Robert A. 
Anderson the secretary. 

From these officers of the I. A. O. S. I received very full 
information about the various organizations; and with let- 
ters of introduction from them I went down into Kilkenny 
county to inspect the workings of some of these agricul- 
tural organizations at first hand. Kilkenny is a dairying 
county and in it are sixteen co-operative creameries; four 
farmers' co-operative banks; eight agricultural societies 
for the purchase of fertilizers, seeds, etc.; a co-operative 
poultry society and a farmers' county fair. 

In the depot at Ballyragget, the first Irish village I visited, 
the most conspicuous objects were cases with the labels, 
"Guaranteed Pure Irish Creamery Butter," and other cases 
for shipment bearing the legend, "Guaranteed New-Laid 
Irish Eggs," with the added name and trade-mark of the 
"Irish Federated Poultry Societies, Limited." I made sev- 
eral trips out into the country around Ballyragget to see for 
myself the workings of the various co-operative societies, 
and I probably cannot give a better idea of the general 
movement in Ireland than by describing in detail the work 
of these individual Kilkenny organizations as I saw them. 

Perhaps the best work here, as in other parts of Ireland, 
is done by co-operative creameries. Muckalee creamery, 
near Ballyragget, was one of the first organized after Sir 


Horace Plunkett began his work, and it has been such a 
success that I found the neighboring Castlecomer farmers 
planning to establish a creamery of their own if a sufficient 
number of cows can be secured for it. Milk is tested for 
butter fat, and farmers are paid by the pound — not by the 
gallon — and in proportion to the amount of butter fat in 
their milk. As a rule, the creamery butter pays the farmer 
six to eight cents a pound more than ordinary homemade 
butter, and the Irish housewife is also relieved of the work 
of churning and molding the product, besides getting back 
eight and one-half gallons of separated milk for every ten 
gallons supplied. A Ballyragget business man told me 
that the Muckalee creamery butter was bringing 120 
shillings per hundredweight as compared with 96 shillings 
for ordinary farm butter ; which statement being translated 
into plain United States language (with the further under- 
standing that this Irish hundredweight means 112 pounds, 
and not 100 pounds as with us) means that the creamery 
butter was selling for about 27 cents a pound and the or- 
dinary butter for about 21 cents. Moreover, all the profits 
of the creamery are divided pro rata among the farmers 
who supply the milk, so that the farmer has other sources 
of profit besides the gain from the improved quality of his 

No less interesting than the Muckalee creamery is the 
North Kilkenny Poultry Society, with headquarters in Bally- 
ragget. This society, a combination of 450 poultry raisers 
in and around the village, has had a rather significant his- 
tory. In the beginning, so a Kilkenny farmer told me, it 
had one or two so-called "expert" managers from a distance 
who turned out to be "expert" mainly in eating up the 
profits, so that for the first three years the society ran at a 

Then something happened which often happens in these 
co-operative societies, and whenever farmers unite and meet 
together for any purpose, namely, hitherto unappreciated 
local talent was discovered and made use of. The mem- 


bers picked up John Carey, a plain young farmer boy with- 
out any frills about him, but with plenty of everyday com- 
mon sense and a good character, and put him at the head 
of the society. In three years' time he has wiped out the 
old loss, increased the membership by nearly two hundred 
and has carried the total poultry and egg trade from $25,000 
three years ago to more than $40,000 a year. Farmers 
get 30 per cent more for their eggs than they did before they 
organized, not merely because they save the middleman's 
profits, but because they ship eggs while they are fresh and 
clean instead of waiting for them to get stale and dirty, be- 
cause they ship them properly graded and crated, and be- 
cause they know just where to ship in order to secure top- 
notch prices. Everywhere one finds that co-operation pays 
the farmer increased profits not only by transferring to his 
pockets the tolls of unnecessary middlemen,^ but also be- 
cause of its everlasting insistence upon "quality" products. 

But my saying that the farmer knows where to ship 
calls for a word of parenthetical explanation. The various 
agricultural organizations maintain in Dublin what is 
known as the "I. A. W. S." — the Irish Agricultural Whole- 
sale Society — an organization which not only furnishes the 
society members with fertilizers and seeds at wholesale 
prices, but keeps in touch with all the leading English mar- 
kets and directs organized societies where to ship their produce. 
My friend, Mr. Carey of the North Kilkenny Poultry So- 
ciety, for example, gets news from the Dublin I. A. W. S., 
say each Saturday, as to what English market he should 
ship his goods to the following week, and the probable 
price. The price is then fixed at which the society will buy 
eggs during the week, and all guaranteed fresh eggs are 
bought at this figure at so much a pound. 

The morning I was there, as every other week day, two 
carriages had gone out over a radius of six miles to collect 
eggs ; and on Mondays they go out as far as ten miles. Eggs 
of the same size and color are shipped together and small 
eggs are shipped as "seconds." Dirty eggs are also shipped 


separately, and care is taken in every way to maintain a 
reputation for giving the buyer exactly what is promised 

Another work it is now proposed to take up is that of 
fattening young chickens before shipping them, instead of 
shipping them elsewhere to be fattened, as is the present 

In this society, as in the case of the Muckalee and all 
other such organizations in Ireland, the profits go to the 
patrons. There are annual meetings which all the mem- 
bers attend, and the regular business in the interim, is 
conducted by an elected committee of twenty-five members, 
a quorum of whom meet with the manager monthly for the 
examination of the books and for general oversight of the 
business. I was told that an average patron had about 
fifty hens, and the women, of course, look after them in 
most cases. 

One other feature of this society deserves mention — ^that it 
could not have succeeded without the support it received 
from the Catholic priest and a wealthy landowner nearby. 
In fact, in nearly all the societies I visited I found that the 
Catholic "fathers" — nearly everybody in Kilkenny is a 
Catholic — were active leaders. I wish our preachers all 
over America showed as much interest in the general move- 
ments for rural development and uplift. 



The Officials Were "Surprised Entoirely" at Mr. Brett's Story 
— A Peep at the Books Showing Loans to Buy Cows, Pigs, 
Seeds, Fertilizers, etc., and Also How the Members Learn 
Business Ways — Castlecomer Society "Has Never Lost a 
Penny Piece in Bad Debts." 

1NEXT visited Mr. John Brett, secretary of the "Bally- 
ragget Agricultural Bank," a typical farmers' credit 
society of the now world-famous Raiffeisen type. I 
found in Mr. Brett a sturdy, stubby, good-natured Irish 
farmer and ex-schoolmaster, whose thrift has brought him 
in his age into possession of one hundred acres of land — a 
pretty large farm in Ireland. Moreover, the Ballyragget 
innkeeper informed me that he also gets a pension as a 
retired school teacher, he having served full thirty years, I 
believe, in the schoolroom, and the British government, 
unlike ours, having acted on the theory that it is just as 
sound policy to pension teachers who make life more abun- 
dant as it is to pension soldiers who destroy life. As we 
walked through his fields, Mr. Brett told me of the workings 
of the agricultural bank, and then took me to his little farm- 
house to show me the "books." 

The story of its growth is interesting, and Mr. Brett 
confided to me that when he recounted it before a public 
committee in Dublin recently, they were "surprised en- 
toirely." I doubt not, too, that many of our American 
farmers will be "surprised entirely" to find out how much 
superior are the banking facilities these Irish farmers have 
worked out for themselves as compared with our own. 



Here is the story in brief : In 1901 Mr, G. W. Russell, 
editor of the Irish Homestead, the organ of the Irish Agri- 
cultural Organization Society, went down to Ballyragget 
and told them how to proceed with their organization. 
There were about fifty members to start with; they fixed 
a six-shilling ($1.44) entrance fee; elected the parish priest 
as president; named an executive committee and pledged 
their joint credit to get a loan of £100 (or $486 American 
money) from the government. On this loan they paid in- 
terest at the rate of 3 per cent and lent money to the mem- 
bers at 5 per cent. Another point that must always be kept 
in mind is this: money is lent to members for productive 
purposes only. That is to say, no money is lent to a man 
merely to keep him going the even tenor of his way, but 
only to help him go forward — ^to help him buy stock, or 
make some improvement, or take advantage of some other 
safe and profit-promising farm investment. 

The farmer does not put up collateral to secure a loan, 
but he must have two solvent sureties to sign with him. 
And here is the keynote of the whole system: From be- 
ginning to end it is based on the principle of co-operation, 
on the idea that the members must help one another, be- 
lieve in one another, and join together in a movement for 
the common uplift. All are, indeed, neighbors, for member- 
ship is limited to persons living within three miles of the 
secretary's office. The members of the bank are jointly 
liable for the safety of the money it borrows or receives as 
deposits, and two persons must indorse with the borrower 
for every loan. 

Perhaps, too, it may be as well to explain just here that 
while this institution is called a "bank," it is very different 
from the banks we are accustomed to seeing, it being, in 
fact, only a farmers' mutual credit society, with one of their 
number as "cashier," keeping the books in his own home. 
There is no expensive office to maintain or rent to pay, and 
about the only expense incurred is a nominal sum for book- 
keeping and the annual examination of the books by an 


expert auditor from the city. ^ The executive committee 
meets once a month to consider applications for loans and 
to see that all notes that have fallen due are paid. The 
members vsrho have surplus funds may deposit them in the 
bank and receive 3J/^ per cent interest. 

It is not presumed that there will be much idle capital ; 
the outstanding loans should about equal the capital and 
the deposits; but in case a surplus exists, it is invested in 
government bonds or deposited in the postal savings bank 
or other interest-paying financial institutions. 

The first year of its operation the Ballyragget Co-oper- 
ative Bank received no deposits. "The people would not 
trust us then," Mr. Brett told me; but now the bank gets 
more money than it can handle, although it has reduced 
the interest paid on deposits to 3 per cent. Instead of the 
£100 ($486) capital with which the bank started, it now 
has capital and deposits aggregating thirteen times as much, 
and it has extended its influence from a three-mile radius 
to a five-mile radius. 

The good this bank has accomplished in the community 
is almost incalculable. The farmer-members now borrow 
money from it at 5 per cent besides getting back the 
profits that the bank makes, and they can borrow for 
a period of twelve months in case the money is 
needed for so long a time. Before the coming of 
the bank, if a Ballyragget farmer wanted a loan, he had 
to go to Kilkenny, the county seat, pay 6 or 7 per cent for a 
loan, take two neighbors with him to sign the note as- 
securities, and feed and treat these indorsers, and go through 
the same expensive proceeding to get the loan renewed at 
the end of three or four months — if he could. With such a 
system, of course, few farmers got the benefit of credit, as 
much needed in farming operations as in business opera- 
tions, and when loans were obtained, the excessive cost fre- 
quently left the farmer worse off than before. Now all 
this is changed. If a farmer needs $10 to $100 for a really 
productive purpose, he simply gets two of his neighbors 


to sign with him ; gets the money from the farmers' mutual 
'lank at S per cent ; borrows, if necessary for a longer period 
than the city banks would have lent to him, and has no 
embarrassing red tape to go through with. 

Or if an exact summary of the advantages of these small 
co-operative banks is wanted, let us say: 

(i) The farmer gets small sums when needed, sucTi as 
it would not pay him to go through the trouble of trying 
to borrow from a city bank ; 

(2) The higher interest rate and the expenses of sureties, 
investigations; etc., formerly made most bank loans cost 
him over 12 per cent, whereas this cost is cut in half under 
the co-operative system ; 

(3) The city banks will lend for only three or four months 
(our whole banking system being built to meet the city 
man's needs), while the agricultural bank recognizes the 
fact that in farming one must frequently borrow for twelve 
months or not at all; 

(4) The simple operation of having two solvent friends 
or neighbors indorse one's note prevents the necessity of 
putting up collateral or making a mortgage, besides stim- 
ulating brotherliness and co-operation; and — 

(5) Limiting loans to those made for productive pur- 
poses, prevents the bank from being imposed upon by 
shiftless farmers, and prevents any farmers from tying up 
or losing their estates by reckless and indiscriminate bor- 
rowing. The agricultural bank is for the purpose of getting 
the farmer out of debt, not of getting him into it. 

To illustrate more clearly just what this particular bank 
is doing, let me mention some of the loans as I found them 
in Mr. Brett's books. 

First, there was a loan of $125 for twelve months to 
enable a certain farmer "to hold over stock for a better 

Then a loan of $60 for twelve months to help someone 
buy a cow. 


Twenty-five dollars for twelve months, "to purchase a 
grass take to graze a horse." 

Sixty dollars to buy two calves. 

Forty-five dollars to buy seeds and fertilizers. 

Seventy dollars to buy calves. 

Ten dollars to buy two pigs. 

One hundred dollars to buy young stock. 

Thirty-five dollars to buy a heifer. 

Twelve dollars and forty cents ($2.40 payable monthly) 
to buy small pigs. 

Twenty dollars to enable a farmer to hold over cattle. 

The minutes show that the official committee members who 
meet monthly and pass upon all applications, act very pru- 
dently and carefully, knowing that their credit is- pledged, 
as well as that of other members, for the solvency of the 
society. Notice these typical entries: 

"Thomas Lacy, £6 to buy a horse ; granted." 

"Michael Murphy, £7 to buy two calves; granted." 

"William Phelan, £12 to buy a cow; refused, as one 
surety was objected to; granted on condition that two 
solvent sureties can be obtained." 

Another meeting : "Mr. Michael Clancy's loan of £9 was over- 
due. He attended and offered £2 on account of interest. 
The £2 offered was not accepted. He was ordered to pay 
the full sum or proceedings would be taken at the quarter 
session for the recovery of the loan." 

Again: "Michael Downey attended and obtained a fur- 
ther time for two months for payment of loan. Thomas 
Lacy, ditto, till he could sell his barley." 

And so it goes. Men thus have the opportunity of bor- 
rowing who could not borrow from an ordinary bank, and 
the loans to the farmers have enabled them to make and 
keep many a shilling in the neighborhood. "We lend a man, 
say £15 to buy a young cow," said Mr. Brett, "and he pays 
15 shillings, [5 per cent] interest, and at the end of a year 
has a cow worth £18, and a calf besides — all for the sake 
of the 15 shillings." 


The Ballyragget Agricultural Bank does business on 
such a narrow margin that its profits no year have ex- 
ceeded $25 or fallen below $5. A few dollars a year to 
Mr. Brett for bookkeeping covers the entire official expense, 
and as his home is the office, there is no charge for rent. I 
notice, however, that Sir Horace Plunkett, in his latest 
president's address strongly advises that these co-operative 
banks should not attempt to lend money at too low a rate 
— especially in view of the fact that any profits will go as 
reserve fund in which the members are equally interested — 
and that 6 per cent rather than five should be the normal 
rate on loans. 

No loans are made for over $150. Originally the maxi- 
mum was $50, but this amount was soon raised to $75. 
The first of this year ninety loans were outstanding aggre- 
gating over $4,000. 

I also paid a visit to the Castlecomer Credit Society, or 
Agricultural Bank, which I found in no less flourishing 
condition than the one at Ballyragget. All these banks 
operate on the same general principles, so the rules of the 
Castlecomer Society are practically the same as those I 
have given for its neighbor. It has existed for twelve years 
and "has never lost a penny piece in bad debts," as the 
secretary, Mr. Joseph Tobin, told me, though, of course, it 
has had to resort to proceedings once in a while. On Jan- 
uary I its capital consisted of about $3,800 borrowed at 4 
per cent, and $2,000 in members' deposits bearing 3^ per 
cent interest, practically the entire $5,800 total being loaned 
out to members at 5 per cent. Only two loans were then 
overdue and these have since been repaid. The entrance 
fee is one shilling, and there are 278 members. The maximum 
amount that can be lent any one person is $100; and there 
is a fine of 15 per cent for allowing a loan to become over- 
due. The annual turnover grew from $1,250 the first year 
to $2,000 the second, $3,000 the third, $4,000 the fifth and 
$6,000 the sixth, and is now $10,000 a year. 

In addition to all the usual society books and records. 


such as I found at Ballyragget, Mr. Tobin showed me an 
alphabetical index which indicates at a glance whether or 
not a member has money borrowed or is surety for a neigh- 
bor-borrower, and enables the executive committee at its 
monthly meeting to determine instantly whether or not 
any member should be granted a further loan or accepted 
as a surety for another borrower. And the success of the 
Castlecomer Co-operative Bank in aiding the farmers of 
the community has been no less marked than in the case of 

"I know many members," said Mr. Tobin, "who pay back 
the money at the end of the year out of the profits made 
on the original loan and have the loan money itself left 
them clear." 

It will be seen from the foregoing that the Ballyragget 
and Castlecomer credit societies are typical illustrations of 
the Raiffeisen farmers' bank of which the distinguishing 
features are (i) the unlimited liability of the members, (2) 
membership limited to a neighborhood where all know one 
another, and (3) loans are made only for productive pur- 
poses. The following extracts which I have copied from 
the "Rules of the Ballyragget Agricultural Bank," are inter- 
esting in this connection : 

Character of Loans — "Loans to members shall only be made on con- 
dition that the purpose for which money is borrowed is such that there 
is a sufficient prospect of the loan repaying itself by the production, 
business, or economy which it will enable the borrower to effect." 

Restricted Membership — "Any person of good character approved 
by the committee, and who resides within five miles from the office of 
the society, is qualified for admission to membership, provided that 
his liability is not already pledged by membership in a similar associa- 

Liability — "Every member of the society shall be, equally with every 
other member, jointly and severally liable for all debts incurred by the 
society, and for any loan which a member, or his sureties fail to pay; 
but each member of the society shall be liable only for the debts in- 
curred and loans advanced during his membership." 

"One Man, One Vote" — "No member shall be entitled to more than 


one vote upon any matter submitted for consideration at any general 

Directors Serve Free — "The committee of management shall be 
elected at the annual general meeting of the society. The members 
shall be eligible for re-election on the expiry of their term of office. 
. . . They shall not receive salary or other remuneration." 

Monthly Meetings of the Loan Committee — "A statement of ac- 
counts shall be presented by the secretary or other oiificer appointed by 
the committee showing the loans outstanding, deposits on hand, and 
monejs received or paid since the last meeting. This statement shall 
be checked and signed by two members of the committee. The secre- 
tary shall then report as to the installments of loans due and unpaid, 
and the action to be taken in each case shall be determined. He shall 
then read the list of applications for loans which may not have been 
previously granted owing to funds not having been available, and a 
decision shall be arrived at as to which of these shall be granted if 
additional funds are reported as being available. Any fresh applica- 
tions for loans will then be considered and the course to be taken with 
each determined." 

A Council of Control — "In addition to the committee there may be 
a council of control, consisting of not more than five members, who 
shall not be members of the committee, but who shall be elected an- 
nually by the members at the general meeting. . . . The council 
shall meet at least once every three months to review the business 
transacted by the o mmittee, and shall satisfy itself that all rules have 
been complied with.' 

Rules for Loans— "(.&) Loans, when approved by the committee, 
shall be granted to nembers who are able to obtain two sureties ap- 
proved by the comn ittee, or who can give such security as the com- 
mittee deem sufficient. 

"(b) No member who is in possession of money lent to him by 
the society shall be accepted as surety for another member requiring a 
loan, unless the committee are unanimous that it is safe to do so. 

" (c) Members who desire to obtain a loan shall fill up a form stat- 
ing the object for which the loan is required, the term for which it is 
asked, whether it is desired to repay the loan by installments, the sure- 
ties who will sign with him any agreement or promissory note, or the 
other security which is offered. The application, if forwarded to the 
secretary not less than two days prior to a meeting of the committee, 
shall be considered at that meeting. 

"(d) If the committee are satisfied with the trustworthiness of the 
applicant, the sufficiency of the security offered, the profitableness by 
productiveness or saving which the use of the loan may effect,_and if 
they have sufficient funds under their control, they m"!; sanction the 


"(e) No loan shall be granted for a period exceeding one year 
unless it be made repayable by regular installments of equal amount; 
nor shall any loan be granted to a member which shall make the total 
sum owing from him to the society at any time to exceed fifty pounds" 

No Profits to Be Given Members — "No profit, bonus or dividend of 
any kind shall be divided amongst the members. Any surplus accru- 
ing to the society, after payment of the cost of administration, shall be 
carried to a reserve fund. If any loss be incurred by the society, the 
annual general meeting may vote such sum as it may think desirable 
from the reserve fund in order to meet the deficiency. In no case 
shall the reserve fund be divided, and, in case of dissolution of the 
society, it shall be devoted to some useful purpose in the district in 
which the society operated, and determined upon by the meeting at 
which the dissolution of the society takes place." 

Annual Auditing Insured — "The committee of management shall, 
once at least in every year, submit the accounts, together with a gen- 
eral statement of the same, and all necessary vouchers up to the 31st 
December then last for audit, either to one of the public auditors 
appointed under the Friendly Societies' Act, or to two or more persons 
appointed as auditors by the members at the annual general meeting 
each year." 



First a Word About a Typical Co-operative Agricultural So- 
ciety — "The United Irish Women" and Their Purposes—. 
Irish Leaders Recognise Twofold Problem of Agricultural 
Organization: '(i) Scientific Production and (2) Scientific 

IN CASTLECOMER also is located the "Valley of the 
Deen Co-operative Agricultural Society," a society of 
farmers organized for the purpose of saving money on 
the purchase of "seeds and manure" — everybody 
abroad says "manures" when referring to commercial fer- 
tilizers. It started several years ago with 100 members. 
Now it has 280, and does an annual business of about $2,500 
in fertilizers and implements (mainly fertilizers, for the 
farms over here are too small to make profitable use of ex- 
tensive farm machinery) ; $1,250 in seeds, and $1,600 in 

The society charges 5 per cent profit on purchases — ^the 
profits, after deducting a $50 a year salary to the secretary, 
becoming the property of the members ; and of the total sub- 
scription entrance fee of $5, only 50 cents has been called 
for. Every member takes one $1.20 share in the general 
"Irish Agricultural Wholesale Society" of Dublin, to which 
reference has already been made, and through which all 
orders are placed. The society owns two manure spreaders 
and two spraying machines for the joint use of all the mem- 
bers — an illustration of the idea of co-operative ownership 
of expensive farm machines which is becoming quite popu- 
lar in Ireland. Sixteen thousand Irish farmers are mem- 



bers of such agricultural societies as this, and the members 
not only save much money on their purchases, but they 
have become interested in fertilizer subjects and have come 
to insist upon purer seeds and upon fertilizer brands more 
suited to special crops and soils. 

A few years ago, so I was told by Mr. Ward, the secretary 
of the Valley of the Deen Society, the farmers took any 
fertilizer that was put up in bags and smelled strong enough, 
but they have now grown far "keener," as the British phrase 
has it, and in consequence their fertilizer money is much 
more wisely spent. 

I have now referred briefly to the work of the co-opera- 
tive creamery near Ballyragget, and the poultry society 
there; the co-operative agricultural bank there, and its fel- 
low at Castlecomer ; and the agricultural society for the pur- 
chase of goods at .Castlecomer. This list, however, does 
not exhaust the forms of co-operative endeavor in the county 
of Kilkenny and other parts of Ireland. For the first time 
the farmers' wives and daughters are being organized, and 
there is a branch of the "United Irish Women" at Ballyrag- 
get which has already done some notable work. 

Through arrangements made with the I. A. O. S. and 
the department of agriculture, experts are sent to theee 
women's societies to give instructions in domestic science, 
cooking, nursing, dressmaking, sanitation, poultry work, 
gardening and to help the women as members of the poul- 
try and dairy societies, as well as in organizing country 
amusements, local fairs, flower shows, concerts, dances, 
rural libraries, etc. In some cases prizes are given for the 
best kept gardens and the most attractive homes. The 
annual membership fee in the "United Irish Women" is 60 
cents, and one of the most striking features in it, as in the 
men's societies, is that Catholics and Protestants — even 
Catholic priests and Protestant ministers when called upon to 
aid any movement inaugurated by the women — forget their 
religious differences in a united effort for community bet- 


It will be seen from all this that the agricultural societies 
in Ireland are very businesslike. Each society works for 
a definite purpose, yet all are clubbed together through a 
common membership in the I. A. O. S., to whose support 
all local branches contribute. 

When I asked Secretary Anderson how they managed to 
keep the farmers organized, he answered, "Simply by show- 
ing them that it pays." If farmers and farmers' wives get 
30 per cent more for their eggs by working together 
through poultry societies ; and six cents a pound more for 
their butter by forming co-operative creameries; and are 
able frequently to double a year's profits by being able to 
borrow needed sums from co-operative banks; or save $2 
or $3 a ton on fertilizers by ordering in a body — when such 
practical benefits as these are in evidence, one is not likely 
to hear much of the old, old story, "Farmers won't stick to- 
gether." In Ireland they do stick and they do succeed. 
Because of this fact, they feel a new dignity for themselves, 
and the state and the nation feel a new respect for them. 
As Sir Horace says : "I do not know how it is in America, 
but at home I have observed that, when legislation affect- 
ing any particular interest is under discussion in Parliament 
or elsewhere, those who speak on behalf of that interest 
are listened to with an attention strictly proportionate to 
the organization of those they speak for — not political or- 
ganization, but business organization." 

There is just one other big fact to which I would call 
attention before leaving our discussion of Irish co-operation, 
and that is the broad outlook of the leaders of Irish agricul- 
tural co-operation. They are not one-idea men. They 
see what so many over-zealous converts to co-operation in 
America seem to forget, namely, that the wide-awake busi- 
ness man looks after two things — economy of production 
and economy of distribution, and that the wise farmer must 
also look after both. He cannot afford to neglect either. 
As Sir Horace Plunkett says: "An efficient department 
[of agriculture] can help the farmer to grow more crops 


and breed better cattle and do these things at less expendi- 
ture than when his output was smaller in amount and in- 
ferior in quality. But he will not get a full reward of his 
intelligence and enterprise, unless he learns to control the 
distribution of his produce and obtains working capital on 
suitable terms. This he cannot do until he adopts the co- 
operative method. On the other hand, what is the use of 
organizing the farmers, if they are not making good use 
of their land?" 

The two things must indeed go hand in hand, and those 
leaders are not wise who try to encourage one policy at 
the expense of the other, or try to make it appear that one 
policy is at enmity with the other. The farmer does need 
to learn how to produce his beef more economically. He 
also needs to know how to market this beef more econom- 
ically after he makes it, and thereby save to himself the 
millions the beef trust takes in unnecessary tolls between 
the farmer's barnyard and the city butcher shop. The 
farmer does need to know how to make his cotton with the 
smallest possible outlay of sweat and purse. He also needs 
to know how to save to his own pocketbook the millions and 
millions of appreciation in value between the time the cot- 
ton leaves his hands in November and the time the norma! 
price level is reached in May. 

The present prosperity of the Irish farmer seems to me 
to be largely due to the fact that nearly all his leaders have 
recognized the twofold character of his problem. Sir 
Horace Plunkett and other leaders, in organizing the farm- 
ers, have strenuously insisted at the same time upon better 
methods of farming, while the department of agriculture, 
always insistent upon more progressive farm practice, has 
also searched the world over for examples of agricultural 
co-operation and has been as careful to give lessons in mar- 
keting farm crops as in producing farm crops — a thing to 
which our United States Department of Agriculture has 
never, until very recently, given any attention whatever. 

At the beginning of his movement for organizing the 


farmers. Sir Horace Plunkett saw clearly that there would 
be no hope for the Irish farmer's financial salvation unless 
he quit the ways of his grandfathers and learned to produce 
as economically as the farmer on the Continent ; and he was 
so intent upon getting better methods of farming that he 
braved local prejudice and brought in agricultural experts 
from foreign countries — for the very good and sufficient 
reason that at that time he could get better men abroad than 
he could find at home. And ever since he has preached 
better methods of production as well as better methods of 
distribution. Thus in his latest annual report we find him 
saying : 

"The Irish dairy farmer, by the simple process of weighing each 
cow's milk daily and periodically testing the milk for butter fat, can 
eliminate all his unprofitable milkers, and by judicious breeding fill 
their places with cows which would leave a handsome margin of profit. 
In one reported case, a farmer gave figures to show that one cow in 
his herd had given him a return of £13 ($60) for her milk, while an- 
other cow had produced but i& ($25). A 25 per cent increase in the 
milking capacity of our cows would mean an increased turnover of 
close upon £500,000 ($3,500,000) a year." 

And again with regard to poultry : 

"It is no exaggeration to say that the present output of eggs might 
be almost doubled without increasing the material cost of their keep or 
the number of fowls which are kept. It is not uncommon to find hens 
producing 150 eggs per annum, while it is pretty safe to say that the 
general average of Irish laying fowls would be little more than half 
this figure. The 150-egg hen does not cost any more to keep than the 
75-egg producer." 

Moreover, the Irish Department of Agricultural and 
Technical Instruction, in addition to all its usual depart- 
mental labors, has taught better methods of handling, pack- 
ing and shipping all kinds of farm products — a work which 
should be more generally prosecuted by our departments 
of agriculture in America. In our Southern Appalachians, 
for example, we have a great apple-growing country, but 


the farmers will never half realize upon their opportunities 
until they learn better methods of packing and shipping. 
Nor shall we ever receive one-tenth of our possible dairying 
profits until we learn better methods of handling our milk 
and butter. I have before me now some typical bulletins 
issued by the Irish Department of Agriculture : "The Pack- 
ing of Butter," "The Marketing of Fruit," "Better Milk" 
(issued for the purpose of insisting upon that scrupulous 
cleanliness which is absolutely essential wherever any 
profitable milk market is to be maintained), etc. The de- 
partment has also issued leaflets on agricultural co-opera- 
tion in Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and Belgium. 

From all this it will be seen that the progress the Irish 
farmer has been making has been symmetrical, compre- 
hensive and well rounded. 

The good work began with their getting control of the 
land, as the English government has now helped them to 
do with almost amazing success. Of the total farming 
area of 18,739,644 acres, the tenants purchased 2,500,000 
acres under land purchase acts from 1870 to 1896, whila 
under the vastly more liberal acts of 1903-1909 they have 
purchased outright nearly 4,000,000 acres and have pro- 
ceedings pending for the purchase of nearly 5,000,000 more, 
the total area purchased outright, or for which purchase pro- 
ceedings are pending, aggregating 11,421,448 acres, as 
against only 7,318,196 remaining undisturbed in the hands 
of old-time landowners. 

In spite of this vast increase in land ownership as a be- 
ginning, however, thfe Irish farmer today might be a dis- 
couraged debtor instead of the buoyant and hopeful and 
forward-looking man that he is, if his leaders had not real- 
ized that the land would not long remain in his possession 
unless he developed qualities of initiative, enterprise and 

It has also been noted all over Ireland that getting to- 
gether for business purposes has also led the farmers to 
join hands in many movements for "mutual, intellectual 


and social improvements," and that the stimulus of organ- 
ization often leads a dormant, backward and unprogressive 
community to show a progressiveness and enterprise in its 
organized capacity which is nothing less than amazing. 

"Better farming, better business, better living" — Sir 
Horace Plunkett and his associates have gone far toward 
the realization of their threefold program. They brought 
into existence the department of agricultural and technical 
instruction which has taken over their main work in helping 
the farmer to do better farming ; they have established the 
various co-operative societies which have made the farmer 
a business man — a wise manager of values as well as a 
wise producer of them; and their latest organization of 
United Irish Women is to hasten that era of better living — 
more beautiful homes, better schools, a richer social life and 
the production of an environment in which human beings may 
be happier and more helpful — which is the proper goal of 
all our striving. 



Why It Has Never Flourished There — The Evils of Land- 
lordism and Some Remedies — Breaking Up Big Estates in 
England — Australia's Plan for Graduated Taxation and for 
Imposing Heavier Rates on Absentee Landlords — Co-opera- 
tion Among English City Workers. 

THERE is a very old story about an author who 
was writing a book on the wild animals of the 
Emerald Isle, with a separate chapter for each 
species. When he came to write the chapter on 
"Snakes in Ireland," it consisted of a single sentence: 
"There are none." 

Now, my chapter on "Agricultural Co-operation in Eng- 
land" will not be so brief as that. In the first place, agri- 
cultural co-operation has attained some small degree of 
success here and there in England, so I cannot dismiss it 
as non-existent. Moreover, there is a very interesting les- 
son for the rest of the world in the failure of co-operation 
to develop among English farmers. That lesson is that 
proper rural development is impossible where landlord- 
ism prevails, no matter what the system of renting may 
be. The Latin writer Pliny observed 1,900 years ago that 
large estates had been the ruin of Italy and were then ruin- 
ing the provinces, and nineteen centuries since Pliny have 
only added constantly increasing strength to his doctrine. 

In one day's journey in rural England I heard of three 
estates, one of 10,000 acres, one of 11,000 acres and one of 
6,000 acres. I have before me now the daily paper's an- 
nouncement of the approaching wedding of the Marquis of 



Anglesey, age twenty-eight, "who is the owner of about 
30,000 acres of land." It is said that 70 people own one- 
half of Scotland and 710 people one-fourth of England and 
Wales. "According to the returns of 1872, 2,250 persons 
owned half the inclosed land of England and Wales, while 
nine-tenths of Scotland was owned by 1,700 people and two- 
thirds of Ireland by 1,942 people." And the situation seems 
not to have changed materially since that time except in 
Ireland. In Great Britain in 1910 "28,238,445 acres under 
crops and grass were occupied by tenants and 3,907,485 
acres by owners" — over seven-eighths by tenants and less 
than one-eighth by owners. 

Such a condition is naturally ruinous to every form of 
genuine agricultural progress. "This," says Mr. A. G. 
Gardner, "explains why England had no share in the revoluT 
tion which marked the last twenty-five years in the nine- 
teenth century. That revolution has touched every coun- 
try in Europe except Britain. It has spread from Denmark 
to Liberia, from France to Serbia. ... It marked the 
breakdown of one system — the system of the individual 
unscientific and unorganized agriculture^ — and the emer- 
gence of another, the system of collective effort, based on 
the application of science and modern invention to the in- 
dustry of agriculture. The small holder, independent, se- 
cure, must precede the co-operative system through which 
alone agriculture can be restored." 

Mr. Gardner's contentions are sound. Thrifty, progres- 
sive, scientific agriculture of the highest type is possible 
only where the farmers own the land they till. In Den- 
mark, where co-operation has gone farthest, 88 per cent of 
the land is cultivated by owners ; and Ireland did nothing 
with agricultural co-operation until the farmers began to 
own the land they farmed. 

Rider Haggard, who visited Denmark to study the situa- 
tion without bias, went back to England convinced that the 
only way to get the same benefits for England, was to help 
the English tenants buy small farms of their own. Co- 


operation, he declared, "will only take real root in an agri- 
cultural community which owns, and does not hire the land 
it works, and even then will only attain to complete success 
and prosperity if the people of that community are very 
hardworking, educated in the true sense, kindly, tolerant- 
natured and intelligent," 

Unless all signs fail, England's next great political battle 
will be over this question of land reform. There is already 
the Small Holdings Act, which provides that the county coun- 
cil — something like our board of county commissioners at 
home — may purchase land in lots of fifty acres or less and 
sell to tenants on these terms : one-fifth cash and the rest of 
the payment to be made in half-yearly installments run- 
ing through a period not over fifty years. At the same time 
the county councils have been authorized to purchase land 
and rent to tenants at reasonable terms, and an officer of 
the board of agriculture told me that 97 or 98 per cent of 
the applicants for land prefer to rent from the State author- 
ities rather than to buy. The farmer who rents from the 
State is almost as much his own master as if he were land- 
lord ; he knows that if he treats the land well he can rent it 
as long as he likes ; that when he leaves, if he should do so 
at all, he will get credit for any permanent improvements 
he has made ; while, most important of all, he keeps and uses 
as working capital the money he would otherwise have had 
to pay for land, being thereby enabled to get better work 
stock, tools, machinery, etc., and increase his efficiency all 

In view of these facts it now seems likely that the Liberal 
party at the next election will advocate a great extension of 
the plan of government purchase and renting of land. The 
county councils already have authority to acquire lands 
compulsorily ; that is to say, they may practically condemn 
a big estate, paying the owner its cash value, and cut it up 
into small holdings. It happens, however, that in most 
cases the members of these county councils have been under 
the influence of the landlords, for which reason but little 


has been done toward compulsory purchases. In order to 
make the plan really effective, therefore, the Liberals now 
propose to transfer this power to some central government 
authority, removed from local influences. They will then 
doubtless proceed actively with the work of breaking up the 
big i,ooo to 20,ooo-acre estates whose existence prevents 
the development of a sturdy agricultural population because 
it prevents the development of an agricultural democracy. 

Land courts will doubtless be established for the settle- 
ment of difficulties between landowners and tenants — these 
land courts, as in Ireland, to determine what is a fair rent ; 
to settle whether or not the landlord has allowed the tenant 
enough for any permanent improvements he has made, and 
fix the tenant's compensation for any unwarranted disturb- 
ance in case he is dispossessed on short notice, etc. 

The revised system of land taxation, with a view to 
putting heavier burdens on the holders of big estates, will 
also doubtless be a part of the Liberal program. Mr. 
Robert Donald, editor of the Daily .Chronicle, told me while 
I was in London of the Australian plan. There the tax rate 
is doubled on estates exceeding $75,000 in value, trebled 
on estates exceeding $150,000, quadrupled on estates exceed- 
ing $225,000 in value, increased fivefold on estates worth 
$300,000. These increases apply where the land is held by 
residents. In the case of absentee owners, the tax is heavier 
• still. In nine months after this Australian law became ef- 
fective $90,000,000 worth of big tracts were subdivided. 

Two other things the English realize: That there must 
be co-operative agricultural banks, probably State aided, 
for those new owners of the land, and that co-operative 
enterprises must be encouraged. "Ireland has taught us 
all a lesson," as Mr. Donald said to me. 

In America, of course, there is not yet need for using the 
extreme methods England proposes to adopt, but we shall 
do well to learn in time what England's experience teaches. 
Pity the state whose farm values are advancing, but whose 
farm people are not advancing! Pity the state, indeed, 


"where wealth accumulates and men decay," because farm- 
ing has become a place for breeding profits and not a place 
for developing manhood! The rural population is the 
strength of a commonwealth only because they are less 
commercialized, because they lay relatively more emphasis 
on manhood and life and less on money and things, are more 
independent, more home-loving, than the city population. 
When big plantations and a numerous tenantry become the 
rule, commercialism sets in, as in the city, independence and 
individuality are destroyed as in the city, and the decay 
of the home follows the decay of home ownership, as in 
the city. 

Eventually, no doubt, our more progressive states will 
frame some plan for lending money to men of intelligence 
and character who wish to acquire small farms; the state 
to be repaid in small annual installments — say 8 per cent 
a year — running through long periods of time, as was done 
in Ireland. Meanwhile very big holdings should be dis- 
couraged. I believe the Legislature of Mississippi some 
time ago passed a law providing that industrial corporations 
should not own agricultural lands in that state. Other 
states would also do well to be watchful on this point. 

And the Australian plan for increasing the tax rate on 
absentee landlords also has many features of merit. 

Without abating what I have just been saying about the 
backward state of agricultural co-operation in England, 
however (and I mean backward as compared with Ireland 
or Denmark rather than still-more-backward America), it 
ought to be added that among England's urban population 
co-operation has flourished like the Psalmist's green bay 
tree. If our own embattled farmers on Lexington battle- 
field may be said to have "fired the shot heard round the 
world," about the same thing may be said for the little hand- 
ful of poor weaver-folk in Rochdale two generations ago 
(1844), who put together their hard-earned savings aggre- 
gating $140, and organized the first of the now world- 
famous Rochdale co-operative stores. 


Today the co-operative membership in Graat Britain 
comprises 2,700,000 souls, and in England alone the busi- 
ness done reaches the staggering total of $600,000,000 a 
year, while Scotland reports results little less astonishing. 

The distinguishing principle in the government of these 
stores, of course, is that only the legal interest rate is al- 
lowed to capital — "its hire," as the Rochdale co-operators 
put it — and all other profits (about $50,000,000 a year in 
England), go back to the customers as "patronage divi- 
dends" in proportion to the amount of their purchases. 
The almost revolutionary views of these pioneers as to the 
portion of business profits that should go to capital has 
been set forth by Mr. Holyoake in his history of the Roch- 
dale movement, as follows : 

"The ceaseless conflicts between capital and labor arise frotn 
capital not being content with the payment of its hire. When it has 
received its interest according to its risk, and according to agreement, 
there should be an end of its claims. Labor then would regard capital 
as an agent which it must pay, but when it has earned the wages of 
capital and paid them, labor ought to be done with capital. Capital can 
do nothing, can earn nothing of itself; but employed by labor, the 
brains and the industry of workmen can make it productive. Capital 
has no brains and makes no exertions. When capital has its interest 
itc claims end. It is capital taking the profits earned by labor that pro- 
duces the conflict. In co-operation labor does not consider profit made 
until capital is requited for its aid." 

Not only are 2,700,000 Britishers now buying their gro- 
ceries, drygoods, etc., etc., through these co-operative stores, 
but these co-operative stores themselves decided long ago 
that they ought to carry co-operation a little further. So in 
1863 they organized their own "Co-operative Wholesale 
Society," or "C. W. S.," as it is called, with $10,000 capital. 
Its first year's business was $20,000 ; now the total net sales 
(to local co-operative societies exclusively) exceed $150,- 
000,000 a year. Profits, of course, are paid back on the 
basis of patronage. As a recent magazine writer says : 

"Today the English Co-operative Wholesale Society's gigantic fac- 
tories, including the biggest boot and shoe factory in Great Britain, 


with a capital of $37,000,000 and 21,000 employes on their payroll, fully 
indicate the progress made in England alone. The big industrial cen- 
ter at Shieldhall, owned and controlled by the Scottish Co-operative 
Wholesale, employing another 8,000 workers, proves that Scotland was 
not far behind England in adopting the new system. 

"In 1911, seventeen wholesale societies reporting did a business of 
nearly a quarter of a billion dollars. This was an increase over the 
previous year of $18,500,000. No society showed a decrease, but some 
almost doubled." 

I wish I could give an entire chapter to the story of this 
Rochdale co-operative movement, which, indeed, reads like 
a romance, but one more significant and illuminating fact 
must suffice: "The man under whom the Co-operative 
Wholesale Society gained its solid foundations and much 
of its growth was J. T. W. Mitchell, who was chairman 
from 1874 to his death in 1895. He managed this enormous 
business with utter devotion for twenty-one years, and when 
he died his own estate was officially appraised at $1,750. 
This is typical of the spirit that has made the co-operative 
movement so astonishingly successful. Co-operation has 
had the use of some of the best business brains at absurdly 
small remuneration because it is a moral as well as an 
economic movement. It arouses the enthusiasm of big men 
because its purpose is to make the brotherhood of man a 
practical reality." 




It Has Reduced Cost of Fertilisers, Has Enabled Poorer 
Farmers to Combine and Use Better Machinery, Has Pro- 
vided Almost Universal Insurance at Minimum Cost, and Is 
Revolutionizing Marketing Methods 

THERE is hardly a prettier farming country in the 
world than France. It is a positive joy to travel 
through its thickly settled farm communities in 
midsummer vi^hen the rich gold of the grain har- 
vest mingles with the dark green of the growing crops and 
the neat cottages are girt about with tall and graceful Lom- 
bardy poplars. A much larger proportion of the farmers 
than in England — ^47j4 per cent, according to the latest 
figures I have — own their own farms, and about them all 
there is a general air of comfort, neatness and even pros- 

But this has not always been the case. In fact, a little 
over a quarter of a century ago the French farmers found 
themselves face to face with conditions of the gloomiest 
sort. They had been farming the way their fathers had 
farmed and their grandfathers before them, every man for 
himself; and, like farmers in many other countries, they 
might never have done any better if disaster had not forced 
them, like young eagles thrown from their nests, into wor- 
thier activities. It is the old story repeated in the history 
of every nation and every individual, of good coming out 
of evil. When I was in the Hawaiian Islands, in 1910, I 
learned that the sugar farmers, depending upon the abnormal 
profits the American tariff afiforded them, had never put 



their business on a really economical and scientific basis 
until a change in the tariff, in the Cleveland era, threw them 
on their own resources and made men of them — business 
men. Our own Southern country might have gone on 
indefinitely neglecting its possibilities for stock raising and 
diversified farming if the boll weevil had not come to make 
the one-crop system too rotten a stick to support us longer. 
Again, the Irish farmers, to whom co-operation has brought 
such prosperity, might never have won their goodlier for- 
tune if they had not first become alarmed by seeing their 
markets slipping away from them to the thoroughly or- 
ganized Danish farmers. 

So, too, it was only the prospect of a ruinous foreign com- 
petition that brought the French farmers to their senses and 
forced them into the co-operative movements through which 
they have at last wrought out their own financial salvation. 
Says Mr. E. A. Stopford : 

"About the year 1884, after a long period of prosperity, the farmers 
of France found themselves in difSculties from which they could see no 
escape. The development of the means of transport removed all bar- 
riers, and foreign produce touched prices which rendered home com- 
petition impossible. Wheat from North America, India and Russia; 
wool from Australia and the River Platte ; wines from Spain and Italy ; 
even cattle from Italy, Germany and the Argentine, took possession of 
the markets, and universal ruin of home producers seemed inevitable." 

It was out of this travail that agricultural co-operation in 
France was born. Now the organizations embrace about 
1,000,000 members, and they have won the favor and good 
will of all classes of French manhood. In France, as in Ire- 
land, co-operation has made business men of farmers in the 
two essential matters of (i) economical production, and (2) 
economical marketing. Organization has also brought the 
farmers into new political prestige, so that in the French 
Chamber of Deputies (which corresponds to our American 
Congress), a majority of the members representing all poli- 
tical parties are pledged to support measures for the protec- 
tion of agriculture. 


Nevertheless it is in the field of practical agricultural 
activities rather than in the sphere of legislation that the 
agricultural co-operation movement in France has won its 
notable triumphs, it being claimed that it has, among other 
things — 

(i) Doubled the agricultural production of the country; 

(2) Has greatly reduced the cost of marketing ; 

(3) Has worked out a fine system of agricultural credit, 
reducing the cost of money to farmers by probably 50 per cent ; 

(4) Has reduced the cost of phosphates 40 or 50 per cent ; 

(5) Has reduced the cost of insurance 30 to 40 per cent; 

(6) And in the beet sugar industry it has developed a 
system of business management so efficient as even to pre- 
vent that glutting of the market which southern cotton- 
growers have found so disastrous. 

The very first thing that engaged the attention of French 
farmers was one in which our southern farmers are vitally 
interested — commercial fertilizers or "chemical manures," 
as they are called in Europe. Before the organization of 
syndicates or farmers' unions, fertilizers were sold by local 
merchants, the farmer who bought knowing nothing, and 
the merchant neither knowing nor caring anything, about 
the ingredients of the fertilizer or its adaptability to the 
crop or soil it was to be used on. The farmers' unions 
changed all this. Twice a year they collected the orders 
from all their members, as far as they could get them, and 
then made terms with the fertilizer manufacturers or dis- 
tributors, effecting enormous savings as compared with 
prices farmers had paid aforetime. The manufacturers 
would render their bills to the individual farmers and these 
bills would be examined and approved by the local union. 
Then it was presented for payment by the fertilizer manu- 
facturer or his agent. Says Mr. Stopford : 

"These bills were never unpaid ; a defaulter would be struck off the 
membership. Thus was a notable lesson learned; the farmers were 
taught commercial exactness and the religion of the due date, and were 
being trained for the organization of agricultural credit." 


That, by the way, is a very fine phrase Mr. Stopford uses 
here: "The religion of the due date." It is this religion 
that must be at the bottom of all successful co-operation as 
it is at the bottom of all sound business everywhere: the 
religion of promptness and exactness. The farmer, since 
he has to contend with so many things in nature that are 
not prompt and regular — the rains, the sunshine, the frost — 
does not so easily form habits of promptness as the city 
business man; and it is all the more important, therefore, 
for him to school himself deliberately in the virtue of 
promptness, "the religion of the due date." Because they 
did have this quality of promptness and carried out their 
contracts with businesslike exactitude, the French farmers 
were able very early in their work to reduce phosphate 
prices 40 to 50 per cent, and they have effected less notable 
reductions in the price of other fertilizer ingredients. A 
very large proportion of the syndicates buy the ingredients 
and mix the fertilizers for their members, in many cases 
giving the farmer specific advice as to what sort of mixture 
he should obtain to fit the special character of his soil and 
the especial requirements of the crop he proposes to plant. 

The farmers' unions in France have also done a most help- 
ful work in getting their members to use labor-saving, and 
therefore money-saving, farm machinery. It is said that 
the farmers were very slow to use the improved tools, but 
the unions adopted all sorts of schemes to toll or entice 
them into better ways. Sometimes unions would help a 
member pay the cost of a new machine in order to get it 
introduced in the neighborhood. Sometimes prizes were 
given to the persons showing the greatest skill in the use of 
machines : 

"Such machines as were expensive and only occasionally required 
were bought by the syndicate for general use, and one made to work 
for many members. For instance, plows, mowers, reapers, harrows, 
weighing machines, straw and root cutters, winnowers, and even flour 
mills. These were let out at a small charge. Those who used them 
were responsible for their safety or repair in case of accident. Some 


were stationary at the depots or with selected farmers; some went 
from place to place. These plans, involving to the farmer no initiative, 
no forethought, and little expense, were widely successful and ren- 
dered invaluable service. The very best machines were bought, some 
even costing $2,000 each. The money was raised by a general pro rata 
subscription among their members, according to their acreage. 

"As the utility of the implements was made known, skill in work- 
ing them increased, and the permanent and general use of them 
spread everjrwhere. Some syndicates even lent the machine without 
charge, but this is only advisable for the temporary purpose of making 
them known. Such gratuitous services have more the nature of 
benevolence than of co-operation; they do not inculcate self-help. 
Those who paid nothing detained the machines too long and delayed 
the rotation, causing inconvenience to the members. A moderate 
charge insures rapid use and piuictual passing on." 

In the same way the farmers joined together in buying 
their commercial fertilizers and their feedstuffs. Just as 
they made it a point to educate their members about the 
ingredients of commercial fertilizers and the kinds that paid 
best on certain crops and certain soils, so they set about 
educating them as to the ingredients of different feeds and 
feedstuffs and the kind needed for each class of animals 
and each class .of farm work. Blooded horses and cattle 
were bought and sold to the members, and other steps taken 
to improve the breeds of stock. 

Another thing that has been attempted in France with 
great success, and which it would be well for our own 
farmers' unions and other agricultural organizations to push 
more vigorously, is mutual insurance. The French farm- 
ers have not only worked out more advantageous schemes 
for fire insurance and live stock insurance, but also accident 
insurance, old age insurance and insurance against hail, etc., 
etc. It is said that the fire insurance fees have been re- 
duced 30 or 40 per cent as a result of the unions' activities, 
while equally as important as the reduction in the rates 
is the fact that thousands of farmers have secured the 
benefits of fire insurance who never would have insured at 
all if the union had not interested itself in the matter. 


When I was in Ireland, I found that Sir Horace Plunkett 
and his associates there were working out a system of live 
stock insurance for Irish farmers, and undoubtedly they 
get their greatest inspiration in the success of this move- 
ment in France. In some cases the French farmers merely 
pool their interests, limiting the amount to be paid on any 
animal to 70 per cent of its value, and limiting the maximum 
amount of any assessment levy to i per cent of the amount 
of insurance carried. For example, if a farmer has an animal 
worth $100, he cannot insure it for more than $70, or pay 
more than 70 cents on any one levy ; or if a farmer has stock 
insured for $500, he cannot be assessed in any one levy more 
than $5. 

Of course, a man's own neighbors are the committee who 
investigate each loss, and there is, therefore, very little 
chance for fraud. 

Human accident insurance is a later growth. In England 
now it is a law that a farmer is responsible for any accident 
a workman may suffer in handling farm machinery, and I 
take it that the same thing is true in France. Of course, 
if a poor fellow earning 75 cents a day and having no means 
of supporting his family becomes crippled for life by some 
piece of machinery, it is not right that he should go all the 
rest of his days as a pauper. On the other hand, it is hard 
for the farmer to pay out a thousand dollars to take care 
of some hired man whose services seem to have been worth 
no more than the wages he received. It is the law, almost every- 
where now, however, that a manufacturer is responsible for 
accidents to his employees, and the same thing must become 
the rule with regard to farmers — wherever it is not already 
the law. In this situation the only thing for the farmers 
everywhere to do is what they have already done in France 
— secure collective accident insurance, not only for their 
workmen but 'for themselves as well. So far as I could 
gather, it seems that about five cents an acre is the accident 
rate charged members of the farmers' union in France. For 
example, if a man cultivates thirty acres, his premium would 


be $1.50 a year, the insurance covering not only his hired 
men but himself, and all members of his family. 

These agricultural syndicates also have done much to en- 
courage agricultural teaching in the public schools; they 
have systematically demanded that all members settle dif- 
ficulties by means of arbitration instead of resorting to law 
suits ; they have secured reductions in railway rates in many 
cases, and in many other cases have combined to take ad- 
vantage of special bulk rates not available to them as 
individuals; and they have encouraged picnics, fetes and 
social gatherings and other means of enriching the social 
and home life of the country. 

After all, however, it is probable that agricultural co- 
operation in France is famed for no more notable achieve- 
ment than the revolution it has effected in economical mar- 
keting of farm products — although its rural credits reform 
is very notable. French farmers not only have the low 
parcels post rate which is such an advantage to English and 
Irish farmers, but they have forced the French government 
to raise the parcel post maxirrium rate to twenty-four 
pounds instead of twelve. And not only have the farmers 
been taught promptness and systematic business methods 
generally, but they have found out the value of other 
methods which we have not yet been progressive enough to 
adopt — as for example, the plan of having all the farmers in 
one community grow one breed of cattle or one breed of 
hogs and so make a reputation for the neighborhood as the 
place to find the best Jerseys or the best Angus or the best 
Berkshires or the best Durocs. 

Frequently, one local Union reports Its needs to the other 
unions in the district, and in this way exchanges are ef- 
fected at a great saving to both buyer and seller. Especially 
notable, moreover, are the results achieved by the society in 
reducing rates paid commission merchants; and one in- 
stance reported by Mr. Stopford is so important that I am 
quoting the reference to it herewith: 


"On the markets of Paris and the large cities considerable success 
has attended sales of vegetables, fruits, potatoes, onions, cut flowers, 
etc., produce generally being collected in bulk and sold in the lots of 
each member; or it was collected, divided into classes according to 
quality by a committee of sale appointed in the general assembly. Each 
day a different member did this work, so ordered that it was impos- 
sible to tell beforehand who was to attend on any day ; this official was 
paid for his work, he had the responsibility, and if claims were made 
the syndicate covered the vendor — an arrangement which made this 
method very satisfactory. Costs are deducted and the surplus divided 
once a week in proportion to the quantity and quality each member 
sent, and the market prices are duly published. Prices to the producers 
were found to be raised 30 per cent by this means." 



This Is Why Hans Hansen Makes a Good Living on Thirteen 
Acres, and Why Denmark Is Indeed "A Little Land Full of 
Happy People" — Importance of Home Ownership — How 
the Danish Government Helps Farmers Buy Land — One- 
Horse Farmers Combine and Do Two-Horse Plowing 

THE first test of co-operation is its effect upon the 
people who co-operate, and judged by this test 
Danish co-operation scores brilliantly. Denmark 
is about the most cheerful-looking country I have 
ever seen. "A little land full of happy people," I heard one 
Dane proudly call it ; and he was right. 

Knowing that it is a country of such exceedingly small 
farms, I should not have been surprised to find that the 
people were hard put to it to live, but on the contrary, an 
air of universal thrift and prosperity seems to cover the 
whole kingdom like the sunshine. The neat little farm 
houses are nearly all painted or whitewashed, even the out- 
buildings; the people are clean, industrious, healthy, alert; 
I saw hardly anybody ragged and but few expensively 
dressed ; and I didn't find in all the kingdom a single farm 
animal showing its ribs. Although there are numerous 
exceptions, I shall always think of Denmark as a place 
where the people hold their heads up, the cattle are sleek 
and glossy, the horses, even in the fields, step briskly as if 
swift movement were a joy, and where every pig curls its 
tail in well-fed satisfaction. The per capita wealth is 
greater than in any other European country except Eng- 
land, I understand, with this important difference: that 
whereas in England there is a class of enormously rich, 



and a multitude of miserably poor, Denmark is almost 
equally free from millionaires and paupers. "Many of our 
poorhouses are absolutely empty," one Dane said to me. 
In short, Denmark seems to approach more nearly than 
any other country I have ever seen to my ideal of a nation — 
a place where nobody is rich enough to be idle, and nobody 
poor enough to beg. This, perhaps, is too rosy a picture, 
but I am only recording the impression this delightful coun- 
try made upon me individually. 

All in all, Denmark ofifers us a convincing illustration 
of the truth of what Froude, the historian, wrote — ^that 
"national health is in exact ratio to the proportion of people 
having direct interest in the soil." In other words, the 
prosperity of the State depends upon the prosperity of its 
agriculture. And while history teaches nothing more 
plainly than this, it also teaches just as emphatically this 
further truth, namely, that the prosperity of agriculture de- 
pends upon three things : 

(i) Land ownership. 

(2) Education. 

(3) Co-operation. 

Those who would win for American agriculture the 
strength, independence and prosperity which has been won 
for Danish agriculture, should give heed to this trinity of 
essentials. Co-operation is the capstone of the structure; 
but the capstone is safe only when the foundation itself is 
secure. The builders of the new Denmark were not un- 
mindful of the Scriptural warning against building a house 
upon the sand ; and it is because they first helped the farm- 
ers get possession of the land, it is because co-operation with 
them is founded upon the solid rock of ownership and edu- 
cation, that it still stands four square to all the winds that 

In Denmark nine acres out of every ten are cultivated by 
the men who own them, and illiteracy is a thing unknown. 
Says Minister Egan : "There is nobody in Denmark over 
seven years old, unless he is an idiot, who cannot read and 


write"; and when I asked Mr. K. A. Jorgensen of the 
Lyngby Experiment Station if he knew anybody who 
could not read, his reply was that he could not think of 
anyone then, but that when he was a boy he had 
known some illiterate old men and women. About the 
first thing I ever heard about Danish co-operation was that 
it could never have succeeded but for universal compulsory 
education and the people's high schools; and this is an 
opinion about which I found everybody in agreement in 
Denmark. It is fitting, indeed, that our now largest Amer- 
ican farmers' organization is styled "The Farmers' Educa- 
tional and Co-operative Union" — "educational" first and 
"co-operative" second — for education must precede co-op- 
eration. The other statement about which nearly every- 
body in Denmark is agreed is that co-operation has suc- 
ceeded so abundantly only because the great body of the 
farmers own the land they till. 

One of the first Danish small farmers I visited was Hans 
Hansen of Ditlevshoj near Ringsted. Hans lived in America 
awhile — out in Minnesota, I believe, where the thrifty 
Danish population has given the Northwest some of its best 
citizenship — and he talks English fluently. After showing 
me over part of his farm, we went inside his neat cottage 
home — made more homelike to me by the sight of an 
American newspaper on his center table — and he smoked 
his funny-looking, short Dutch pipe while we talked. 
While out in our American Northwest, he told me, he had 
a "quarter section," that is to say, a i6o-acre farm, but he 
came back to Denmark about five years ago and took up 
the thirteen-acre Danish "small holding" he is now on. 
"And do you think thirteen acres enough?" I asked. 
"Yah," he promptly replied. "I get along about as well with 
thirteen acres now as I did with a hundred and sixty then. The 
truth is, I'm thinking I could get along with a little less 
than thirteen. I wouldn't have to work so hard." 

Now, the reason Hans and his neighbors can make a liv- 
ing on twelve or thirteen acres apiece, my readers have 


already guessed. It is co-operation. They send their milk 
to a co-operative creamery; they sell their pigs to a co- 
operative bacon factory; their eggs are collected by the 
co-operative egg-packing association; they have water in 
their houses, pumped by a co-operative plant; they have 
improved their stock through a co-operative breeding club ; 
their grain is threshed by a co-operative thresher ; their beet 
seed are planted with a co-operative sower; and though I 
forgot to inquire further, I have no doubt but that they, like 
a host of other Danish farmers, buy their seeds and fer- 
tilizers through a co-operative purchase society, and insure 
their stock in a co-operative insurance company. Indeed, 
the very fact that they are on the land at all is due to co- 
operation. They joined together to buy the soil they live 
on — it was a large estate until a few years ago, when it was 
divided up into these small holdings — and the government 
plan whereby money was lent them at low rates for long 
periods with which to buy the land, may itself be styled a 
form of co-operation. 

As nearly as I can make out the somewhat complicated 
question (and I have made careful efforts to verify the 
statement), the way these Ditlevshoj small holders bought 
their farms was as follows : 

(i) Each man had on his own account one-fifth of the 
purchase price. 

(2) Three-fifths of the price he borrowed from a co- 
operative credit society on these terms: He pays interest 
the first five years at 4 per cent ; after that he pays 4% per 
cent a year, 4 per cent of this amount counting as interest 
and the remaining three-fourths of i per cent as sinking 
fund, or amortization, to pay off the principal. 

(3) The remaining one-fifth each purchaser borrowed 
from the State (on second mortgage), paying interest at 
the rate of 3 per cent. 

This system, it will be seen, is somewhat akin to the Irish 
land purchase act of 1903, which I have already described, 
whereby the British government advanced to Irish farmers 


(under suitable restrictions, of course) the full purchase 
price of the land they bought, repayment to be made in 
68j4 installments of 3 j4 per cent, 2^ per cent being interest 
and Yt. per cent sinking fund. But the British government, 
of course, lost money by this plan ; it could not itself borrow 
at 2% per cent, and I suspect that the Danish government 
is also making some sacrifices in advancing money to land- 
buyers at 3 per cent. At any rate, Mr. Christensen, the 
obliging editor of the local paper who went out with us to 
Ditlevshoj, told me that S to 5J4 per cent is the normal rate 
of interest in Denrnark. "The Danish treasury," he told 
me, "lends 200,000 kroner (about $54,000) a year to associa- 
tions wishing to buy great estates for division among small 
holders, no association being allowed to get more than 
50,000 kroner ($13,500)." 

This law, of course, is independent of and supplementary 
to the general law for advancing money to individual small 
holders, under which the State lends over $1,000,000 or 
more, annually, directly to men of character wishing to 
buy land. A brief summary of this law may be given in 
the exact words of Dr. Maurice F. Egan, the United States 
Minister to Denmark: 

"An agricultural laborer in Denmark, who has worked on a farm 
for five years, who is poor, and who has a character so good that two 
reputable members of his community will certify to it, may obtain from 
one of these banks a loan of about $1,582 in our money. He obtains 
this solely on his character and ability, and not by any material security 
he can offer. With this money he may purchase a farm of from three 
and a half to twelve acres. This farm means live and dead stock on 
the land and the necessary implements for the working of it The 
amount loaned by the bank covers probably nine-tenths of the value 
of the farm." 

It should be added that the rate charged by the govern- 
ment is only 3 per cent with i per cent additional for sink- 
ing fund. "During the first five years no installment has 
to be paid upon the loan ; thereafter interest and repayment 
of two-fifths of the loan must be paid at the rate of 4 per 
cent per annum ; when this part of the loan has been paid 


back, the remainder has likewise to be paid off at the rate 
of 4 per cent per annum." 

So much for the way co-operation and the government 
help Danish small farmers like Hans Hansen buy their land. 
Let us now inquire a little further as to how he and his 
neighbors live, and how he can make a living on thirteen, 
acres, "and could get along with a little less." The secret 
of his prosperity is that he is not content merely to make 
one profit on his work — that of growing the crops. On the 
contrary, we may say he makes three profits : 

One profit from growing the crop; 

A second profit from converting his crops into milk, butter, pork and 

A third profit from marketing these to the consumer. 

In other words, Hans gets agricultural, manufacturing 
and commercial profits: (i) Profits as a farmer for grow- 
ing his crops; (2) profits as a manufacturer (in a sense) 
through his dairying and stock-raising activities; and (3) 
profits as a merchant, by reason of sharing the co-opera- 
tive association dividends obtained in marketing his prod- 
ucts. No people ever got rich merely by selling raw material 
— a fact which explains why the South remains relatively poor 
in spite of its enormous production. Danish agriculture pros- 
pers because it is not merely a matter of growing raw ma- 
terials. It is a well-organized commercial industry. 

Moreover, Hans Hansen's land is doubtless getting richer 
all the time. Nearly all Danish land is. Sixty years ago- 
the soil was getting speedily poorer, because Denmark was 
a one-crop country, as the South has been, only the Danish 
"one crop" was not cotton, but grain. But since the people 
turned to diversified farming and stock raising, instead of a 
one-crop system, the land has been growing in fertility all 
the time. On his thirteen-acre farm, Hans keeps two horses, 
five cows and a good many hogs — I have forgotten just how 
many. Anyhow, he sent sixteen pigs to the bacon factory 
last year, six-month-old fellows averaging 200 pounds live: 


But after remarking that Hans' thirteen-acre place cost him 
13,000 kroner, or $4,510 American, including land, stock and 
buildings (part of the price being lent by the state at 3 per 
cent), we must leave him to visit some of his neighbors. 
One of these is Marius Yensen, who bought eight tondeland 
(about eleven acres) five years ago, at about $100, per acre, 
the land being then without buildings. Now his horse, his 
six cows, his pigs, and his wife's Minorcas are housed under 
the same roof as his family, a condition which obtains with 
millions of other European farmers. Of course, in all such 
cases a thick dividing wall must be provided between the 
living apartments and the barn, and the stables must have 
daily attention. But it would be a mistake for any reader 
to think of Marius Yensen's cottage as dirty and unkempt. 
It is pretty, built by an architect's plan, neatly whitewashed, 
.and the yard is dainty with flowers. 

Yensen keeps a good breed of hogs and cows, of course — 
nearly all Danish farmers do — and I saw one big brood sow 
which has had 87 pigs in eight litters. His pigs, like Han- 
sen's weigh about 200 pounds live weight when five or six 
months old, and he got $540 from the co-operative bacon 
factory for his pig sales last year. From the co-operative 
creamery he received $405 for his cream, besides getting 
his skimmed milk back for feeding his pigs and calves. 
Then his wife's Minorcas, besides furnishing eggs for family 
use, brought in the tidy sum of $54 from the co-operative 
egg-packing association. It should also be remembered 
that our Danish farmer friend is at no expense or trouble 
for marketing his eggs and milk. The creamery wagon 
•comes for his milk pails as regularly as the sun rises, and 
the co-operative egg wagon calls every Monday. 

The representative of the "control society," or cow-test- 
ing association — usually a young man who has studied 
dairying in some agricultural college — makes a visit every 
eighteen or twenty days, ascertains the quantity of milk 
and amount of butter fat each cow is producing, and com- 
pares the value of the feeds given her with the value of her 


milk. "Ill fares that cow to hastening doom a prey" which 
does not show a profit! The secrets which the "robber 
cow" once successfully concealed, are now proclaimed from 
the housetops — or, it would be more accurate to say, from 
the butcher's block. Largely because of the activities of the 
control association and the resultant discovery and disposal 
of the "undesirable citizens" in the dairy barns, the average 
Danish milk production per cow increased from 4,500 
pounds in 1898 to 5,865 pounds in 1908 — a gain of over 
30 per cent in a single decade. Moreover, Professor Ras- 
mussen of the New Hampshire Agricultural College, a Dane 
by birth, assures me that the average milk production per 
cow in Denmark has actually doubled in twenty-three years. 
Yensen's own cows averaged 8,800 pounds of milk last year. 

About this time it seems to me I can hear some of my 
readers saying, "Well, Friend Poe no doubt liked that Den- 
mark farmer's fine stock, and his careful rotation, and his 
progressiveness in patronizing a co-operative creamery and 
bacon factory, but there is one thing he must have objected 
to, and that is, that with such small farms about all the 
plowing must be of the one-horse sort." 

But to all such readers I would say. Not so fast! The 
presumption is a natural one, but as a matter of fact, co- 
operation which helps Yensen in so many other ways, helps 
him here also. He does no one-horse plowing. The truth 
is, one-horse plowing is an unusual sight anywhere in the 
Danish kingdom. One of the secrets of its prosperity is 
that it has more horses per square mile than any other coun- 
try on earth — an average of thirty-two — and while here and 
there a small holder like Yensen, with only ten or twelve 
acres, and that not quite paid for, may have only one horse, 
even then he usually thinks too much of his time and of his 
land's time, to waste either with one-horse plowing. When 
Marius Yensen wants to plow, he borrows another horse 
from a neighbor, and in return Yensen lends his horse to 
the neighbor when the neighbor needs it. 

That is true co-operation for you! 



Co-operation, Scientific Knowledge, Strict Business Policies, 
and High-Quality Products Are the Four Secrets of Success 
— How the Co-operative Societies Were Started Without 
Capital — Plans of Payment — Necessity for Binding Legal- 
Form Agreements Among Co-operators — Inspection to In- 
sure Quality of Product 

THE SCRIPTURES speak of Palestine as "a land 
flowing with milk and honey." In view of the 
great number of cattle and hogs in Denmark, it 
might be called a land flowing with milk and 
gravy. "Like ancient Gaul," says Minister Egan, "all Den- 
mark is divided into three parts — ^butter, bacon and eggs." 
And he might have added that of these three the greatest 
is butter. 

I have already remarked that there are more horses to 
the square mile in Denmark than in any other country the 
sun shines on, and I believe the same thing is true with regard 
to cows. At any rate, there are 442 milk cows for each 
thousand of the population, as compared with 224 dairy 
cows for each thousand Americans. 

The first Danish co-operative creamery was established 
thirty years ago. Undoubtedly it would be rash to assume 
that one cow in a hundred was then enrolled in the co-op- 
erative ranks, but now more than eighty cows in every 
hundred are fashionable, up-to-date, co-operative cows and 
less than twenty are left untouched by the modern spirit. 
Of the 1,507 creameries in Denmark on the latest date for 
which I have the figures, only 242 were private and 85 



estate, while 1,177 were operated on the co-operative basis. 

These Danish co-operative creameries on which Eng- 
land's hungry millions have learned to rely for their butter 
supply were formed, almost without exception, without the 
members paying out one cent as capital to start on. "At 
first we had the banks all against us," Mr. J. H. Monrad, 
the well-known dairy expert, told me, "but now we can get 
anything we want simply on the principle of united and 
solitary responsibility — a guarantee signed by all the mem- 
bers. There is almost no chance of failure, and the mem- 
bers do not hesitate to sign the notes. Then we agree to 
pay the bank the usual rate of interest — say, 5 per cent — 
and to pay back at the rate of 10 ore (10 ore is not quite 
three cents American money) for each 100 pounds of milk 
handled. Then the bookkeeper in paying the farmers for a 
hundredweight of milk deducts not only the fixed rate for 
expenses, insurance and interest, but also the three cents 
that goes to pay off the debt. Suppose, for example, a 
farmer would otherwise net $1.15 per hundredweight for his 
milk, then a deduction of three cents would leave him $1.12. 
Usually the rate of repayment is so figured as to clear off 
the debt in seven to ten years, but it has happened that 
creameries have paid out completely in four years." 

There is one other principle religiously observed in all 
these co-operative creameries and other Danish co-opera- 
tive enterprises which Mr. Monrad insisted that I must 
emphasize in writing of the subject for American farmers — 
the principle of having all contracts absolutely definite, 
binding, compulsory and businesslike. And in this I am 
sure that he is right. If we don't mean business about this 
matter of co-operation — straightout, thoroughgoing, 
Yankee-like "business" — we might as well let it alone. .Co- 
operation, I am thoroughly convinced, is the greatest dis- 
covery of modern times for the betterment and uplift of 
our farming people, but like everything else worth having, 
something must be sacrificed to get it. Farmers cannot 
simply enroll their names as members of a co-operative 


society and then float into an earthly Paradise on flowery 
beds of ease. City business men cannot succeed unless the 
members of their partnerships or corporations are strictly, 
definitely, legally, bound up to do certain things, and farm- 
ers cannot make all the middleman's profits unless they are 
willing to take some of the middleman's risks. Let's make 
up our minds to that. But the farmer has this advantage, 
that while loss to a business man often falls heavily on an 
individual, loss in a co-operative enterprise, in the rare 
cases where it has happened at all in Denmark, has been 
so widely scattered as to seriously handicap nobody. 

"You must make your American farmers resolve on the 
compulsory feature in the very beginning," Mr. Monrad 
said to me. "Great as are the advantages for co-operation 
here in Denmark, our farmers would nevertheless have 
failed in great measure — just as the German farmers would 
also have failed — if we had not had the compulsory feature 
inserted in all our agreements. When a creamery is started, 
each subscriber agrees to deliver all his milk that is not 
required for family use for ten years to come — sometimes 
it's seven years, but usually it's ten — to the new establishment." 

And this promise is no mere expression of intention, but 
a definite, binding, legal agreement that can be enforced 
in the courts, and damages can be collected from any man 
violating it. Thus if a man has agreed to deliver milk from 
five cows, he will be responsible to the creamery if he sells 
his farm without requiring the purchaser to assume his 
obligation and continue to send the milk from five cows. 
The other day a case came up where a man who had agreed 
to deliver all his milk had increased his herd, and from his 
newly-bought cows had sold milk to the city instead of the 
creamery. Thereupon the creamery sued him, and the 
court directed that he be fined not to exceed $500, the exact 
amount to be fixed by a disinterested committee. 

Of course, all this is nothing but businesslike. Ordinarily, 
it requires milk from about 400 cows to insure the success 
of a creamery, and it would be poor business to start one if 


on some excuse or other half the members might pull out 
and leave the creamery without sufficient milk supply to 
make its operation profitable. Suppose, for example, in 
some neighborhood there was a rival creamery that wished 
to break up the co-operative creamery. If there were no 
compulsory provision in the co-operative creamery con- 
tracts, the other creamery might for a time offer unwar- 
rantably high prices and so entice away a sufficient num- 
ber of co-operative creamery members long enough to 
break it up. If we are going into co-operation here in 
America, we must have definite, binding agreements in 
every case — and agreements covering a sufficient product 
to insure success. 

The Kildevang creamery near Ringsted which I inspected 
may be regarded, I suppose, as fairly typical, in essential 
things, of the other twelve hundred co-operative creameries 
in Denmark. "Kildevang" was started twenty-three years 
ago with 300 cows and a debt, but is now patronized by 
120 farmers with 800 cows, and has nearly paid for itself 
out of installments, besides the profits returned directly to 
the farmers. I failed to inquire, but I suspect that the 
plant has been enlarged and that the installments now pay- 
able are for the addition to the original plant. This cream- 
ery sends out nine wagons every sun-up to collect the milk, 
and produces, I was told, 385 pounds of butter daily, and I 
don't know how much cheese. Its yearly income is $54,000, 
and for the last six mopths period for which I have the 
figures, it appears to have made a profit after paying all 
expenses and installment on debt, of 10,794 kroner — about 
$2,914.38, or at the rate of about $50 a year profits for each 
farmer. Of course, however, the profits are not divided 
per capita among the farmers, but each farmer receives 
dividends exactly in proportion to the quantity of butter 
fat he has furnished. In business management, moreover, 
Danish creameries are absolutely democratic. In the busi- 
ness meeting every member has one vote, whether he fur- 
nishes milk from five cows or fifty. 


A large part of the farmer's golden reward is due to the 
fact that the co-operative enterprises are able to "standard- 
ize" their products and get correspondingly higher prices, 
as an individual farmer is not. A co-operative creamery, 
bacon factory, or egg-packing factory is able to establish 
a standard of quality and guarantee this standard to the 
consumer. Most farmers are not as careful as they ought 
to be, and where a farmer is careful to give good quality 
every time, his reward is slight because he is too small a 
factor to be considered by the market. But on the large 
markets a large group of farmers can demand and secure 
higher prices for higher quality products. Jim Smith may 
produce butter of superb quality, for example, with small 
reward; but Jim Smith's county may make a reputation 
which will mean added profit for every producer in every 

So it has been with Danish butter. Before the day of the 
co-operative creamery most of it was bad, and what wasn't 
bad fared after the fashion of poor dog Tray in the Blue- 
back speller — it was punished because it was in bad com- 
pany. "Before the co-operative creameries," said a thought- 
ful Danish farmer to me, "the farmers could hardly sell 
their butter at all. It was so dirty England wouldn't have 
it at any price." What "peasant butter" was sold at all 
brought one-third less than the regular creamery product. 
Now Denmark boasts that there is only one quality of 
Danish butter — good. "Second-class and third-class butter 
has disappeared from the market." 

A great part of the co-operative creamery's profit is due 
to saving the middleman's charges, but my conviction is 
that about as large a part is due to the fact that it is 
able to guarantee its customers absolute regularity in 
quality and almost absolute regularity in quantity of 
butter furnished. Take Kildevang as an example^ Not 
only is everything about the place appetizingly clean, but 
every single time a pound of butter goes back to a patron 
(and, of course, the patrons get their own family butter 


from the creamery instead of depending on the old-fash- 
ioned dasher churn) a notice is inclosed reminding the 
farmer over and over again with what must be almost 
exasperating reiteration just what he must do in order to 
have his milk supply acceptably clean. "Kun God Maelk 
Giver Smor" ("Only Good Milk Makes Fine Butter") is 
the heading set in big type ; and the regulations as a whole 
cover what we might call the ten commandments of good 
and cleanly dairying. 

Moreover, since Noah Webster's fables have come to 
mind, I may remark that the Danish creamery managers, 
following the example of the old chap who found the saucy 
boy up his apple tree, do not look upon soft words as the 
only legitimate means of persuasion. If these fail, then, 
figuratively speaking, "they try what virtue there is in 
stones." Rider Haggard says of the Brorup Co-operative 
Dairy : 

"All milk supplied is sampled by experts once a week. If any par- 
ticular lot does not come up to the standard the farmer is warned, and 
if the deficiency in fat or other imperfection continues, his milk is re- 
fused. This rarely happens, however, as the result of such a warning 
is that the quality of the aspersed milk improves." 

Moreover, "Sis .Cow," as Uncle Remus would say, must 
be watered amply if she is to give milk, and it looks odd 
to see vehicles like our city water wagons traversing the 
fields for her refreshment. Running water is not very 
plentiful in the tile-drained fields (nearly everything is tile- 
drained in Denmark), but windmills — quaintly picturesque 
old Dutch affairs here and there side by side with new 
American-looking steel ones — pump water easily ; and wind, 
they observe, is cheap and plentiful. Moreover, here is an- 
other chance for co-operation, and a Dane had rather miss 
his dinner than a chance 'to co-operate. Marius Yensen, 
Hans Hansen, Peter Villadsen, and the other small holders 
mentioned in my last chapter, together with fifteen other 
small farmers, jointly own a windmill which I found sup- 


plying water to all the eighteen families clustered in the 

Cows and co-operation — this is the team all Denmark is 
betting on! Not only have the creameries doubled the 
farmer's profits on the same quantity of milk, but the "con- 
trol society" or cow-testing association, to which I have 
already referred, is teaching him to get rid of his unprofit- 
able cows and so double his profits again as a result of keep- 
ing cows of better quality. In 1907, the cows owned by 
members on the control association averaged 6,344 pounds 
each, while those owned by farmers who were not members, 
averaged only 5,643 pounds. There has never been the 
slightest disposition to ignore the importance of scientific 
farming among these Danish co-operators ; there has been 
no foolish scoffing at "book farming." "We are going to 
get everything we can both out of better means of produc- 
tion and better means of distribution," has been their motto, 
and they have made double profits for this very reason. If 
I had to name the three things that are almost equally 
responsible for the Danish dairyman-farmer's full pocket- 
book, I should say : 

(i) Scientific and economical production, due to thorough 
study of the principles of dairying and farming in farm 
papers, farmer's bulletins and extension work.. 

(2) Scientific handling and marketing, due to co-opera- 
tive effort along strict business lines ; and — 

(3) The extra top-notch prices obtained through ability 
to enforce from producers and guarantee to consumers ab- 
solute cleanliness and a high quality product. 



That Is the Net Result to Danish Farmers — An Interesting 
Visit to a Co-operative Bacon Factory and a Co-operative 
Egg-Packing Plant — Importance of Standardising Products 
Again Emphasized — $2.70 Fine fov Sending a Bad Egg 

NEXT to the co-operative creameries, we find in the 
"bacon factories" or slaughter houses, as they are 
usually called in English, the most important form 
of Danish co-operation. I was told in Copen- 
hagen that there were thirty-nine of these establishments, 
a figure which compares with one in 1888, seventeen in 1895, 
apd thirty-two in 1905, a very steady increase in the num- 
ber in operation. Over a million and a half pigs are slaugh- 
tered every year, or three times as many pigs as there were 
in all Denmark thirty years ago — a million and a half pigs 
a year, observe, in a country with just a little larger popula- 
tion (2,757,057) than an average American state, and not 
one-third the area (15,582 square miles). While Denmark 
is a kingdom all to itself, therefore, we must always keep in 
mind that it is only about the size of three or four congres- 
sional districts in America. 

Personally, I found the Ringsted Bacon Factory one of 
the most interesting places I visited, as I had gone through 
too many personal experiences in hog killing, scalding, 
scraping, etc., on cold November sun-ups for the place to 
disturb me; but the manager, Mr. Jens Piil, told me that 
when Mr. Rider Haggard visited the place he left almost 
before he got there — as that gentleman himself confesses. 
The Ringsted factory collects pigs from all the country for 



ten miles around, now has 3,300 members, and slaughters a 
thousand pigs a day — one and a quarter a minute during 
working hours. The Biblical saying about the grass 
"which today is and tomorrow is cast into the oven" 
came vividly to mind, for the conversion from live pigs into 
pork ready for curing is almost oppressively sudden. I 
didn't make an investigation for myself upon this point, but 
a man who did, says: 

"I timed by my watch a pig from the moment he was stuck to 
where the carcass had been scraped, inspected, cleaned and divided in 
half, ready for the government inspector's stamp (which is burned on 
the side with a factory stamp befoie going into the cooling rooms), 
and it was exactly twenty minutes, and the work was most thoroughly 

It would hardly interest the reader, or delight his aesthetic 
sense, to describe the slaughtering operations. When 
David B. Hill was returning from a National Democratic 
convention once he remarked that "Presidents are like 
sausages : you like them better if you don't see them made" ; 
and it is a good deal the same way with all pork products. 
Suffice it to say that all the latest improved appliances such 
as Armour and Cudahy use in America, will be found in 
these Danish factories, and every operation is conducted 
in a thoroughly scientific, economical and businesslike man- 
ner. Fifty-two men are employed at Ringsted and every 
man knows his job and does it. Moreover, here, as in Chi- 
cago, they "save everything about the pig except the 
squeal." After passing through the cooling rooms with 
their fresh carcasses, the enormous curing vats, and the lard 
department, we entered the sausage department where an 
automatic sausage-stuffing machine was doing its work with 
a celerity that would amaze our American farmers, and next 
discovered that even the blood of the slaughtered hogs is 
carefully saved, mixed with grain and molasses, and sold 
as a pig feed! The livers were formerly exported to Ger- 
many, but about 1903 Germany passed a law forbidding 


their importation, whereupon these resourceful Danes rose 
immediately to the emergency. The bacon factory man- 
agers "put their heads together and_ drafted leaflets with the 
aid of experts, embodying recipes for making delicate and 
savory dishes from pigs' livers." These recipes were scat- 
tered over Denmark, with results that were quickly ap- 

I have already remarked that the co-operative creameries 
in Denmark have, probably increased the farmer's profits 
quite as largely by requiring and guaranteeing a uniform high 
quality as by saving middleman's profits. There is, of 
course, not so much room for variation in quality of pork, 
but here, too, co-operation has come to the aid of both 
producers and consumers with good results to both. In 
Ringsted, as in' other co-operative bacon factories, I found 
an official inspector at work before whom the secrets of all 
pigs' hearts (and stomachs) stood revealed as the dead 
march passed in review before his ever-scrutinizing eye. 
Every carcass exported must bear the inspector's stamp, 
certifying it as either first-class or second-class meat. 
"Ninety-three per cent of the pigs pass the inspector as 
being thoroughly sound," Manager Piil told me, "seven per 
cent are found diseased. Usually the removal of some es- 
pecially diseased portion leaves the rest of the pig all right, 
and only one-third of i per cent of the carcasses have to be 
rejected altogether." 

From its small farmer patrons, I was told, the Ringsted 
establishment gets about ten pigs a year each, from owners 
of medium-sized farms, thirty to forty pigs each, and from 
others eighty to one hundred. 

The space I have left will only allow me to refer briefly 
to the business side of these co-operative slaughter houses. 
We have all heard of "wheels within wheels," and this is 
what one finds almost everywhere in studying co-operation 
in Denmark. The bacon factories are themselves co-op- 
erative and then they co-operate in mutual insurance of their 
products, and in mutual accident insurance for their work- 


men, and in mutual insurance against losses through labor 
strikes — although I confess I never heard of a strike in 

The Ringsted factory, I should not omit to state, was 
started sixteen years ago, with less than i,ooo members, as 
compared with the 3,300 it has today, and it then took care 
of only 400 pigs a week in busy seasons, while it has recently 
handled 2,000 a week. The farmers borrowed the money 
to build the plant, and have paid out of the profits for the 
equipment $43,200, besides the other profits paid directly 
to the farmers. In fact, all these bacon factories and 
slaughter houses seem to have paid handsomely. Ten per 
cent a year seems a usual dividend ; and one plant in fifteen 
years paid out from its profits $40,000 for equipment, be- 
sides paying each farmer-member 78 cents bonus for every 
pig furnished in addition to the full market price. An Irish 
deputation which visited Denmark several years ago, found the 
Roskilde society paying a bonus of 73 cents per hundred- 
weight, Haslev 84 cents, Horsens and Kolding 92 cents. 
In other words, the farmers received profits or dividends of 
from $1.46 to $2.84 on each 200-pound hog delivered; in 
addition to top-notch market prices. It is not hard to con- 
vert people to the benefits of co-operation where you can 
present such argument as that ! 

In the bacon factories, as in the creameries, there is abso- 
lutely equal suffrage. Every member has one vote, and 
only one, in the yearly meetings. "It doesn't matter 
whether a man furnishes one pig or one hundred," Manager 
Piil said to me. "When we have our annual meeting in 
February, all have the same voice as to the business affairs 
of the organization. An executive committee of eleven is 
elected, which meets monthly for the general conduct of 
the business." 

I had intended writing at some length of the Ringsted 
Co-operative Egg-Packing Society, but must dismiss it AA^ith 
a paragraph. In many respects it is like the Irish poultry 
society I have already described, but unlike that institution 


it collects eggs weekly insteadjf of daily. Every Monday 
morning it sends out twenty-eight wagons over a radius of 
eight miles and gathers in eggs from 2,000 members. 

It also handles poultry, and I was interested in investigat- 
ing the system of artificial fattening or "cram feeding" 
which is practiced in the winter months. For two weeks 
the unwilling birds have milk dough pumped into them, and 
the society last year sold 3,000 birds thus fattened at from 
24 to 27 cents a pound. 

Most of the business, however, is in eggs, and here the 
greatest care is exercised. A woman "candles" every egg — 
that is to say, examines it by looking at it in an egg-testing 
apparatus, the lights indicating its freshness. Farmers are 
supposed to deliver to the wagons each Monday only the 
eggs laid the week before, and the remorseless tester is very 
likely to discover any violation of this regulation. If by 
ajiy chance, however, an egg should succeed in deceiving 
the very elect who conduct the "candling" tests, it would 
still have to reckon with a yet more relentless day of judg- 
ment, for each egg is rubber-stamped with the initial and 
number by which the farmer is known. For example, "F. 
97" means farmer No. 97 in Society F. A slip is inclosed 
with each box of eggs asking the purchaser, in case any egg 
proves unsound, to report its number to the society, 
and the society promptly hunts down "F. 97," or whoever 
the offender may be. 

"If a man sends a bad egg," the manager informed me, 

"he is first reminded of his offense. Then, if it is repeated 

so soon as to indicate carelessness, he is fined five kroner 

'($1-35) ; for the third offense, $2.70; and if he persists in 

.evil-doing, he is expelled." 

Quality, quality — that is the watchword in all Danish co- 
operation. The societies demand quality; enforce quality, 
guarantee quality; and they could never have succeeded 
in winning such profits for their members if they had not 
been whole-heartedly determined to give an absolutely 
square deal to every customer. Every creamery, every 


slaughter house, every egg-packing institution, feels itself 
in some sense a trustee of the reputation, the good name, 
of Denmark, of Danish farmers, of agricultural co-operation ! 
Even the humblest peasant shares the feeling. 

"I'll give you one of the big secrets of our success," a 
very intelligent farmer said to me. "It's in the form of an 
incident a Swedish authority observed when investigating 
our egg export business. While traveling across the coun- 
try just after he got here, he came to a little cottage where 
an aged houseman's wife was carefully cleaning the last 
one of a big basket of eggs. 

" 'Mother,' he said to her, "you seem to be wonderfully 
particular to rub off every spot.' 

" 'Yes, sir, stranger,' was her prompt reply, 'don't you 
know that we must have nice and clean eggs for the honor 
of Old Denmark?' 

" 'And right there,' the Swede continued, 'I knew that I 
had found out one of the main explanations of the great suc- 
cess I had come over to investigate.' " 



Denmark Has Not Only Good Primary Schools and Compul- 
sory Attendance, but a Remarkable System of "People's 
High Schools" — These High Schools Make Ideal Social Cen- 
ters — Ignoring Stereotyped Formulas, They Aim to Prepare 
Students Not for College but for Efficient Living in Their 
Own Neighborhoods 

THE farmers rule the roost in Denmark," Mr. Mon- 
rad said to me as we talked together in Copen- 
hagen. "It is not a lawyer-bossed country such 
as you have in America, where lawyers outnum- 
ber all other classes in Congress, in the Legislatures, and 
in the party councils." Mr. Monrad had lived in America 
several years, and knew what he was talking about. "In 
our Rigsdag or Congress," he continued, "the farmer mem- 
bers have an absolute majority." 

The explanation of all these things is not far to seek. If 
three things — Ownership, Education and Co-operation — ex- 
plain the Danish farmer's prosperity, two things — Educa- 
tion and Organization — explain his political power. Organ- 
ization alone will not do the trick. You might organize 
ten thousand men in your county tomorrow into an army, 
but if they had not been "educated" for their work — that is, 
if they had not been trained to shoot and to march and to 
maneuver — they would go to pieces in a minute before a 
thoroughly organized and disciplined — that is to say, thor- 
oughly "educated" — German battalion. So our farmers, no 
matter how well organized, will fail, in great measure, 
unless they are educated, unless they read and study and 



plan as wisely as the great body of the educated and or- 
ganized forces with which in a democracy they must always 

Let me give my readers here the sign and password of 
the Danish farmer's success. I found the sign at the first 
farmers' school I visited in Denmark — the Kare- 
have "Husmandskole," near Ringsted. It is the 
emblem of this school to which so many farmers 
come for short courses, and might well be the 
emblem of many a similar institution in America 
— an owl and a spade united, the owl represent- 
ing knowledge, the spade representing labor. 
"It means 'Wisdom and Work'" {Visdom oz 
Arbeida), we were told, and our entire party 
agreed that it might well be taken as the emblem 
of the new Denmark. And it is, indeed, because 
the Danish farmer has combined Wisdom and 
Work, Learning and Labor, Education and Energy that he 
rules his kingdom and divides to every man the fruit of 
his labors. 

While, of course, it is to the splendid system of compul- 
sory public school education that we must look for the 
secret of the Danish farmer's intellectual progressiveness, 
the Karehave school itself is about as good an illustration 
as one could wish for to emphasize the general thirst for 
knowledge. "Husmandskole" it is called, or "Housemen's 
School" — houseman being the Danish word for small 
farmer. No one under eighteen is admitted, and the in- 
struction the boys and men receive is agricultural in char- 
acter, their term lasting, I believe, from October to May, 
while the May-to-October session for the girls and women 
looks to helping them in cooking, housework, poultry keep- 
ing, gardening, etc. 

Karehave's greatest service to the farmers of Denmark, 
however, is doubtless rendered through its "short courses" 
— eleven-day courses in such subjects as dairying, stock 
feeding, poultry raising, special crops, etc. — eighteen of 

'folk high schools" responsible for success 209 

these courses being given each year, one beginning the first 
Tuesday and another beginning the third Tuesday, in nine 
months of the twelve. It was inspiring to see the grown 
men and women who had come for these courses, when I 
visited the school; middle-aged farmers, smoking their 
crooked pipes, walked across the campus in company with 
their gray-haired wives who had come to find out how 
science could help them in their work. "Frequently the 
husband comes first and takes the agricultural course," I 
was told, "and is so much pleased that he has his wife come, 
or perhaps comes back with her. Or perhaps the good 
woman is more alert and progressive than her husband, 
in which case she is not rarely the first one to find out the 
helpfulness of the school and come." Aged men and women, 
such as would seldom think of such a thing in America, 
renew their youth and refresh their minds with new-found 
knowledge at Karehave. "I believe you have had one 
student seventy-two years old," Editor Christensen said to 
Professor Nielsen of Karehave, as we talked together. "No, 
we have done better than that," Professor Nielsen replied. 
"We have had one pupil enrolled who was seventy-six, and 
at one time we had two pupils past seventy years old !" 

Perhaps, just as Denmark is said to have "the microbe 
of co-operation," it also has some microbe that keeps men 
always eager to learn more. At any rate, when I called 
by the American Embassy in Copenhagen the day I sailed 
to tell Dr. Egan good-bye, I found him assiduously engaged 
in a French lesson — and he is sixty-four! 

But what Danish educators chiefly boast of is their sys- 
tem of "folk high schools," attended by thousands and 
thousands of young men and women, from eighteen to 
twenty-five years old. These schools differ a great deal 
from our American high schools, which, as a Dane said to 
me, too often aim only at preparing a boy or girl for college 
or the university, whereas the Danish people's or "folk"^ 
high schools aim at preparing for life, industry and citizen- 
ship. The reader will observe that the Karehave school^ 


I have just been describing is an institution for technical 
instruction in agriculture and domestic science, and does not 
belong to the type of "folk high schools" or "people's high 
schools" I shall now briefly discuss. 

So far as I know, there is nothing anywhere else in the 
world quite like these "Folk High Schools," and they 
deserve the careful study of all our people who are inter- 
ested in the improvement of country life. In Denmark 
these folk high schools are the true "social centers," 
which should form the heart of every country neighborhood, 
and they no doubt account largely both for the unusual 
spirit of comradeship and the high average of intelligence 
throughout the country. 

These schools are not given over to formal text-book 
lessons and examinations, but the instruction is almost 
entirely in the form of public lectures, followed by discus- 
sions, questions, answers, etc., the general aim being to 
stimulate character building, good fellowship, and patriot- 
ism in the pupils, "developing the heart, mind and will," 
as it is expressed. They study all the best Danish litera- 
ture, a special object being to develop the reading habit; 
history gets a very large part of the time; agriculture 
is studied in many schools ; geography, mathematics, Eng- 
lish, gymnastics and athletics are given attention; and a 
special effort is made to furnish adequate instruction in 
health subjects — physiology, hygiene and sanitation. An 
important aim is that of stimulating patriotism, and the 
singing of the beautiful national songs is done with such 
enthusiasm and inspiration that a foreigner doesn't need 
to know the words in order to realize their beauty. Old 
and young alike come to these lectures, and nearly every 
visitor to Denmark goes back with some story of the crowds 
he saw — some walking, some driving, some on the ever- 
present bicycle — all bound for the neighborhood high school 
to hear the public lectures. As Mr. Monrad said to me: 
"The people's high schools may be said to aim simply at 
arousing a craving for more knowledge and eventually self- 

"folk high schools" responsible for success 211 

improvement, but originally it was a half-religious, half- 
patriotic propaganda which proved a cornerstone for the 
co-operative building, or — if you please — a fertilizer for the 
co-operative tree." 

To provide a broader culture for the great masses of the 
people ; to get them to read and think and love their coun- 
try and their . fellows ; and to promote a spirit of good fel- 
lowship and bind the neighborhood together both in indus- 
trial and intellectual activity— this is the great purpose of 
the folk high schools, and most remarkably do they succeed 
in carrying it out. 

Every boy and girl, or young man or woman, must go to 
the high school if he or she is really to "count" in the neigh- 
borhood. "Not to go, is a social loss," as Dr. Egan puts it. 
The young men spend the five winter months, November 
to March inclusive, and the young women the three sum- 
mer months, June, July and August, as boarders in 
these schools, and here I must emphasize the universal 
opinion that the acquaintances and the spirit of comradeship 
formed in these schools, along with the high degree of in- 
telligence they insure, explain, in great measure, the success 
co-operation has attained. "These high schools are the 
basis of the agricultural development," Minister Egan has 
repeatedly declared in his American lectures ; and Dr. Her- 
bert G. Smith is only stating a matter of common knowledge 
when he says in his "Agricultural Co-operation" : 

"The leaders of the movement in Denmark attribute the capacity for 
organization among the Danish farmers to two chief causes — namely, 
the education given to the peasants in the rural high schools, and the 
division of the land among the small free holders." 

"No, we could never have won the success we have with- 
out the folk high schools," the first Dane I interviewed 
declared ; and the last one echoed the same opinion. "It is 
in them that the people learn fellowship and good will," 
was his explanation. One important point to keep in mind 
is that there are no examinations in these folk high' 


schools, SO a young man or young woman is not barred out 
simply because he or she may happen to be a little backward 
in some particular study, "or not know the exact shade of 
Julius Caesar's hair." This is, indeed, a great advantage. 

But the big fact to keep in mind is, that it took a thorough 
system of education — not merely common schools, and com- 
pulsory attendance, but high schools also — to enable the 
Danish people to win the success, independence and pros- 
perity they have achieved. 

I neglected to ascertain what appropriation the govern- 
ment now makes to these people's high schools, but Mr. 
Monrad tells me that "$68,499 is distributed through local 
authorities and agricultural or dairy associations to aid 
worthy students in paying for their school expenses." And 
here is a good lesson for some of our American states which 
are lavish in their support of universities and higher institu- 
tions of learning for the benefit of the fortunate few, but 
utterly neglect the great masses of farm boys and girls 
who cannot think of entering a college, but ought to have 
special training in practical middle schools after leaving 
the regular public schools. Why should we not extend 
more help to farm boys and girls who wish to attend agri- 
cultural high schools or take short courses in agricultural 

How popular these "folk high schools" are in Den- 
mark, and how ready the people are to rally to their support 
is indicated by one incident that came to my attention. A 
few years ago one of the schools got into financial difificul- 
ties of some kind that threatened its future, and one thou- 
sand farmers joined in raising a fund for its deliverance! 



The Stock Breeding Associations and Rural Credit Unions 
Described — Businesslike Methods of Starting Co-operative 
Enterprises — Importance of Careful Auditing and Inspection 
of Books — The Government and the Farmer — Seven Factors 
Which Explain the Wonderful Record of Danish Co-opera- 

HOW many kinds of co-operative societies there are 
in Denmark I have no idea. The latest govern- 
ment "Aarbog" ("Yearbook") lists co-operative 
creameries, co-operative egg-packing societies, co- 
operative stores, co-operative slaughterhouses, co-operative fer- 
tilizer associations, co-operative sugar factories, societies for 
co-operative accident insurance, the Co-operative Association for 
Buying Agricultural Machinery, the Co-operative Association 
for Creamery Accident Insurance, and enough more to leave 
one gasping for breath. Mr. Monrad told me that in Naerum 
they have a co-operative bakery, where the bread for all the 
members is baked in enormous ovens. 

Nearly all of these societies are of hardy outdoor growth 
— not an exotic growth forced into an unnatural development 
through artificial stimulus. The farmers of Denmark have not 
sat idle waiting for the government to do something for them. 
Mr. Roosevelt once said that our attitude with regard to the 
negro ought to be, "Help him if he stumbles, but if he lies down, 
let him stay," and this excellent policy has been steadfastly ob- 
served by the Danish government in its relation to agricul- 
tural organizations. It has stood ready to help, but not to 



coddle, ready to supplement the farmer's own contribution, 
but not to supplant it. 

Only in the case of the societies for the improvement of 
stock and the purchase of breeding animals have there been 
any notable government appropriations. The "control so- 
cieties" or cow-testing associations of which there are 530 
local organizations, get $32,400 from the government, and the 
money is certainly well expended. I have already explained 
the plan in brief; once every eighteen or twenty days the 
representative of the society (who is, of course, a thor- 
oughly trained, technically educated dairyman — or some- 
times a woman) visits each farmer, ascertains each cow's 
milk yield and the percentage of butter fat, and advises the 
farmer with regard to her feed and all matters of common 
interest. The farmers pay about 27 to 54 cents a cow an- 
nually for the service, and the government supplements the 
amount from the $32,400 appropriation I have just men- 

In somewhat the same fashion traveling agricultural in- 
structors, corresponding somewhat to our demonstration 
agents, are employed through the agency of the society, 
the government paying half their salaries and the farmers 
one-half. The National Danish Creamery Association also 
gets a subsidy of about $1,000 a year, one feature of its work 
being the encouragement of "Pail Shows" or Butter Shows. 
About every two or three months each local association, 
comprising say ten, twenty, or thirty creameries, will have 
an exhibit, samples of butter from each creamery being 
tested and scored. 

There is also, through some organization, general over- 
sight into the quality of output of each creamery. The 
"surprise" element of this inquiry is its effectual and dis- 
tinguishing feature. Without warning, a creamery will 
get a telegram requiring if to express a sample of that day's 
product to Copenhagen. In cheese making it is, of course, 
not practicable to act so quickly, but a mold is sent by mail 
with the requirement that it shall be returned next day. 


and the cheese bearing its imprint forwarded later. No 
creamery can afford to turn out anything but clean and 
wholesome butter and cheese, for the manager never knows 
when, by this or other surprise methods, the searchlight of 
official scrutiny will be turned full upon his establishment. 
It is to the interest of every dairy to require every other 
dairy to produce a high quality product, for all Danish ex- 
port butter bears the government trade-mark, all alike profit 
by its reputation, and the good name it has gained is indeed 
rather to be chosen than great riches. 

The horse breeding, cattle breeding and pig breeding as- 
sociations have perhaps had a more rapid growth these last 
five years than any other sort of co-operative organization, 
and to them the government has been especially liberal. 
The general plan is that if a sufficient group of farmers join 
together to purchase a prize-winning animal, approved as 
worthy by expert judges, the government will itself pay a 
part of the purchase price. I have already recorded the 
almost marvelously helpful results attending such a policy 
in Ireland ; and the rapid growth of these organizations and 
of the government subsidies granted them, indicates that 
equal satisfaction must have been achieved among the 
Danish people. The government appropriation for horse 
breeding societies has been increased in twelve years from 
$13,500 to $43,500, and for cattle breeding societies from 
$18,900 to $54,800. 

The farmers' co-operative purchasing societies in Denmark 
have had a very stormy but triumphant history. Originally, 
they seem to have aimed only at buying feeds and fer- 
tilizers for their members, but they have now greatly ex- 
tended their operations and deal in a variety of supplies. 
They had to fight from the day of their birth, and it was for 
a long time uncertain whether they would survive. In 
Ireland, when the co-operative societies for buying seeds 
and fertilizers were started, the "gombeen-men" or time 
merchants were so furious that in some cases they brought 
false charges against the promoters and had them arrested. 


And Danish co-operators, in their early days, had almost 
as bitter a struggle. The merchants combined against them, 
and by pressure brought the wholesalers and manufacturers 
into league with themselves against the co-operating farm- 
ers. That is to say, the merchants said to the wholesalers 
and manufacturers, "We will not buy from you if you sell 
direct to the farmers," and in consequence the co-operative 
societies found themselves unable to purchase the sup- 
plies they wanted, either from wholesalers or manufacturers. 

But the embattled Danish farmers were not to be con- 
quered so easily. "Very well," they said to the manufac- 
turers, "decide for yourselves. If you will not sell to us, 
we will build factories of our own." And that is what they 
straightway proceeded to do in a number of instances. The 
dairymen have a co-operative factory for making their own 
churns and butter tubs, and there are a number of other 
co-operative factories — rope factories, woolen factories, fer- 
tilizer factories, coffee and rice mills, etc., etc. Just now a 
cement factory is in prospect. 

But the wise Danes do not rush blindly into any new en- 
terprise of this kind. They are strictly businesslike in their 
efforts. Not a brick will be laid for the cement factory, not 
a cent of risk taken by the farmers, until the guaranteed 
orders from the co-operative stores are sufficient to insure 
its success. 

The seed business of these co-operative societies is 
naturally immense, and I was interested in visiting the 
chief seed farm located at Lyngby hard by the agricultural 
college there. The Danish Co-operative Wholesale Society 
sells one-seventh of all the farm seeds sold in the kingdom, 
I was told — $12,000,000 worth — and an interesting feature 
is that all the profits are put aside as an insurance fund to 
repay any members who may have by any means received 
bad seed. At Lyngby, however, there are test plots, from 
which samples of the seed furnished by all leading growers 
are tested, and a farmer's complaint will need corroborative 
J^stimony unless the society's own tests indicate that the 


seeds were inferior. It is said that one result of the co- 
operative seed business has been to greatly improve the 
quality and cheapen the price of all kinds of farm and gar- 
den seeds. 

A sugar factory is the newest co-operative enterprise now 
assured. There have been six or seven sugar factories in 
Denmark, all apparently in a trust, and making about 25 
per cent dividends, according to common report. So a co- 
operative sugar factory was planned, product from a suf- 
ficient area guaranteed by the farmer members to insure a 
full supply of beets, and the sanguine incorporators went to 
the Copenhagen banks to borrow the needed capital. It 
was here that they ran against that vague and nebulous, 
and yet powerful influence we Americans have denominated 
"the money trust." The directors in the great banks were 
also, some of them, directors in the sugar trust. They 
didn't want a rival factory started, so they refused to lend 
the money. It happened, however, that one of the leading 
farmers was cousin to a rich German capitalist, and he 
furnished the required capital. 

The co-operative credit societies in Denmark differ rather 
notably from those in most other European countries. 
Credit unions exist, these not lending money directly, but 
furnishing the borrower credit union bonds, which he can 
sell in the open market for whatever he can realize on them. 

For example, suppose a Dane has a farm and a residence. 
F'-om a popular type of credit union he can borrow three- 
fitths the value of the house, or one-half the value of the 
land, up to a maximum limit of $1,286. Suppose he should 
be entiled to borrow $1,000. Then the credit union, upon 
taking his mortgage, instead of paying him $1,000 in cash, 
turns over to him its 4 per cent state-guaranteed bond for 
$1,000. He sells this for whatever he can get for it — some- 
thing less than par, depending upon the state of the money 
market. Then he pays 2 per cent to a reserve fund; and 
after that he pays 4 per cent interest a year and i per cent 
extra as discount or sinking fund, and this total of 5 per 


cent a year — $50 on the $1,000 — ^paid each year for 45 years, 
extinguishes the loan. Of course, if he wishes to pay off 
earlier, he can do so. In this case, suppose the $1,000 in 
bonds should sell at 95, then the borrower would get $950 
in all. But he would be bound to the bank for a full $1,000, 
which would mean in effect simply that he paid a premium 
of $50 to get $1,000 on such favorable terms. 

The members of these credit unions borrow on their joint, 
several and unlimited liability ; but it is said there have been 
no losses for 50 years, and the 2 per cent reserve fund would 
certainly seem ample insurance against any trouble of this kind. 

In most ways, as the reader has probably come to believe, 
the Danish co-operative societies have been very business- 
like, but in one respect they have been unaccountably re- 
miss. In many cases they have neglected to employ skilled 
or professional auditors to examine their books, and ap- 
parently have neglected to obtain adequate bonds from 
some high officials. "We are a sort of trusting, confiding 
people," Mr. Monrad said to me. "I suppose that is the 
reason Dr. Cook chose Copenhagen as the place from which 
to announce that he had discovered the North Pole!" At 
any rate, the importance of requiring absolutely thorough- 
going inspection has now been impressed upon the Danish 
co-operators in such a manner that they are not likely to 
forget it again. A "high financier" lawyer and an all-round 
"jolly good fellow" got into the good graces of the farmers, 
got himself appointed to some responsible position where 
he handled a lot of the farmers' money; and soon began 
speculating. When the auditing board would come around, 
he would wine and dine them, wind up with an invitation. 
"Now, let's look over the books and see how much I have 
been stealing," and the members, not being professional 
bookkeepers, nor as strict as they should have been, would 
go away and report everything all right, this being the 
regular program, until one day the crash ca,me, and it was 
discovered that the daring plunger had robbed the credulous 
co-operators of several fortunes. Now the Danish farmers 


are beginning to employ professional auditors for the ex- 
amination of their accounts, just as the Irish farmers do, 
and as the German co-operative societies are required to 
do by lavsr. 

A sort of summary may now not inappropriately conclude 
our story of Danish agricultural co-operation : 

I. There is no doubt about it that the success of Danish 
co-operation is mainly due to the fact that such a great pro- 
portion of the Danish farmers own their own homes and 
land — ^the division of the land into small holdings. Just 
how small they are will be indicated by the following table : 

Size of farms 

No. of farms 

Total No. of 
acres in class 



From 15^ to 1354 acres 

450 000 

From ISyi to 40 acres 


From 40 to 150 acres - - 

2,100 000 

From 150 to 650 acres 

More than 650 acres 


The fact that there is such a great proportion of these 
small farmers is chiefly attributable to the liberal terms on 
which the government advances money to laborers wishing 
to buy small tracts — lending nine-tenths of the money re- 
payable at a low rate of interest after a long period of years. 
The government also endeavors to keep down the size of 
the farms; under certain circumstances it appears that a 
man is not allowed to buy an adjoining farm and unite it with 
his own, though I could not get exact particulars on this point. 

2. No matter what the system of land tenure, however, 
the farmers would never have succeeded but for the high 
degree of general intelligence due to education, and — in 
hardly less measure — to the unique system of "people's high 
schools" with their five-months' winter courses for young 
men and three-months' summer courses for girls. 


3. Despite the generally favorable circumstances, co-op- 
eration would still have succeeded only partially if all enter- 
prises had not been based upon compulsory, binding, iron- 
clad agreements. Mere good intentions form no safe basis 
for a business enterprise. 

4. The local societies have been federated into larger 
groups, and these larger groups into national organizations, 
with ample power for enforcing high standards of quality, 
and of commercial integrity. "For the honor of Denmark 
for the honor of Danish farmers, for the honor of the cause 
of co-operation," there has been everlasting insistence upon 
quality, cleanliness, square dealing; absolute reliability in 
every particular. 

5. The business training, the self-confidence, the spirit 
of fellowship, developed (i) by education and (2) by co- 
operation, have made the farmers the political rulers of the 
kingdom. Just as in America, it is regarded as the natural 
and proper thing to send a lawyer to the Legislature or to 
'Congress, so in Denmark it is regarded as the natural and 
proper thing to send a farmer. 

6. The farmers, however, have had little nursing or cod- 
dling, and no lavish appropriations. "Help those who help 
themselves," has been the motto, and as a rule money has 
been voted only to such purposes as the farmers themselves 
would subscribe liberally to further, instead of spent whole- 
sale on such schemes as our congressional "free seed" dis- 
tribution in America. , 

7. By reason of the threefold activities of the farmers, 
(a) as growers of raw material, (b) as manufacturers of this 
raw material into butter, bacon and eggs, and (c) as sellers 
of their products, they make three profits where the Amer- 
ican farmer makes one, besides making their land richer 
all the time, so that everywhere crops are bigger than they 
were 60 years ago. Under these conditions a man finds 
"ten acres enough," and the ideal of "a little land full of 
happy people" is not a dream but a reality — thanks to Home 
Ownership, Education and Co-operation. 




In every farmers' organization one of the puzzling prob- 
lems the members first encounter, as we have already in- 
timated in Chapter VII, is as to what they should have in 
their constitution and by-laws, or articles of incorporation 
and by-laws, as the case may be. 

Let us begin with the constitution, or if an incorporated 
company, with the articles of incorporation. These should 
give the name of the organization, place of business, amount 
of capital stock and size of shares, what officers are to be 
chosen and their duties, and date of annual meeting. The 
following constitution of the Excelsior (Minn.) Fruit 
Growers' Association is a good type of constitution, and 
with a little extension would serve as articles of incor- 
poration : 

Constitution of the Excelsior (Minn.) Fruit Grower/ Association 


The name of this corporation shall be the Excelsior Fruit Growers' 
Association, and its place of business shall be Excelsior, Hennepin 
County, State of Minnesota. 


The business of the Association shall be to buy, sell and deal in 
fruits of all kinds grown in this vicinity and to do all things necessary 
to be done in conducting a general fruit business. 


The officers of this Association shall be a president, secretary, treas- 
urer and a board of three directors, who shall hold their office for the 
term of one year, or until their successors are elected and qualified. 
The president and secretary shall be ex-officio members of the board 
of directors. 



The annual meeting of this Association shall be held on the first 
Monday in April of each year. 

The names of the first officers of this Association are as follows: 
G. W. Shuman, President; E. G. E. Reel, Secretary; C. W. Spickerman, 
Treasurer; H. H. Whitmore, P. M. Endsley and R. A. Wright, 

The president and secretary of this Association, are -hereby author- 
ized to execute and acknowledge all papers, contracts and deeds neces- 
sary to be executed and acknowledged by said Association, but they 
shall not execute and acknowledge papers of any kind except by the 
consent and direction of the board of directors of said Association. 

Now as to the by-laws. We are presenting herewith a 
model which combines features of the model recommended 
by the Wisconsin Board of Public Affairs with some fea- 
tures of the by-laws of the Catawba Co-operative Creamery. 
These sections may be amended to meet the wishes of any 
group of prospective co-operators. 

Form of By-Laws Based on Wisconsin and North Carolina Experience 


Section 1. The membership of the Association shall be confined, as 
far as possible, to actual farmers. Not more than 40 per cent of the 
stock shall be sold to those whose main interest is other than farming. 

Sec 2. The Association reserves the right of buying in any share of 
stock which is for sale, and of passing on the acceptability of any 
applicant for membership. 

Sec. 3. All shares must, before issue, be registered on the books of 
tl - Association, and the purchaser by the acceptance thereof agrees to 
all the by-laws and rules of the Association, including also all amend- 
ments that may be legally adopted, and thereby shall become a mem- 
ber of the company. No shares can be transferred until all claims 
of this company against the owner of such shares have been paid. 

Sec. 4. If any member of the Association desires to dispose of his 
share or shares, he shall first offer to sell same to the company at mar- 
ket value; if company declines to purchase, the purchaser may finda 
purchaser acceptable to the company and have same transferred to said 


purchaser on the books of the company in accordance with the 
rules. If a member removes from the territory and ceases to be a 
patron of the Association and establishes a residence elsewhere, ^the 
board of directors shall purchase the share or shares owned by the said 
non-resident member. Sections three (3) and four (4) of this article 
shall be printed on each and every certificate of stock issued by the 

Sec. 5. Each member shall be entitled to one vote only. 

Sec. 6. No member shall be entitled to own more than 10 per cent 
of the capital stock. 


Board of Directors 

Section 1. The board of directors shall consist of five members. 

Sec. 2. They shall be selected by and from among the stockholders 
at the annual meeting, and shall serve until their successors are duly 
elected and qualified. Of the directors elected upon the completion of 
the organization two shall serve one year, two two years, and one three 
years. The regular term of office of the directors shall be three years. 
If vacancies occur in the board the same shall be filled by the remain- 
ing directors until the next annual election. Immediately after the 
election of the directors, the newly elected board of directors shall meet 
for organization and the election of officers. 

Sec. 3. The board of directors shall have the management and con- 
trol of the business of the corporation and shall employ such agents as 
they may deem advisable and fix the rate of compensation of all officers 
and employees. 

Sec. 4. The board of directors shall decide what bonds shall be re- 
quired of officers and shall audit the accounts of the Association at least 
once every quarter. 

Sec. 5. The board of directors shall meet on the first of each month 
and be subject to a call for special meetings at such times as the presi- 
dent or secretary shall deem necessary. 

Sec. 6. A majority of the directors shall constitute a quorum of the 

Sec. 7. No member of the board of directors shall be allowed to 
vote on any question in which he may have any personal interest con- 
flicting with the interests of the Association as a whole. 

Section 1. The officers of the corporation shall consist of president, 
vice-president, secretary and treasurer. The office of secretary and 
treasurer may be held by the same person. The officers shall be elected 
by the board of directors by a majority vote of the whole number of 
directors. The first elections shall be held immediately after the elec- 
tion of the board. Subsequent elections shall be held annually, on the 
day of the first regular meeting of the board after their election, the 
day to be fixed by resolution of the board of directors. 


Sec. 2. In case of death, resignation or removal of any officer, the 
board shall elect his successor, who shall hold office for the unexpired 

Sec. 3. The president shall preside at all meetings of the Associa- 
tion. He shall have power to call special meetings of the Association 
whenever, in his judgment, the business of the Association shall require 
it. He shall also, upon a written request of 10 per cent of the stock- 
holders or three members of the board of directors, call a special meet- 
ing of either the stockholders or directors as may be requested. 

Sec. 4. The vice-president shall perform the duties of the president 
when the latter is absent or unable to perform the duties of his office. 

Sec. 5. The secretary shall keep a record of the proceedings of all 
meetings held by the stockholders of the company, and also of all meet- 
ings of the board of directors. The secretary shall keep the accounts 
of the company and use such system therefor as is adopted by the board 
of directors. He shall file all receipts, cashed checks and records, and 
write all checks issued by the company. The secretary, by authority 
of the president, shall sign all checks issued by rtie company, and with 
the president sign all notes. The secretary shall present to the board 
of directors at their monthly meeting a statement of the business of 
the company for the previous month. He shall also attend the annual 
meeting, present to the stockholders a complete record of the previous 
year's business, giving an itemized statement of the total expenditures and 
income for the year and a detailed report of the resources and liabili- 
ties of the company. For performing such duties, the secretary's com- 
pensation shall be fixed by the board of directors. 

Sec. 6. It shall be the duty of the treasurer to take care of the 
funds of the company. He shall make a monthly report to the board 
of directors, and an annual report to the stockholders of the company, 


Capital Stock; Stockholder^ Meetings 

Section 1. The capital stock of this Association shall bft^ ^— ._-« 

dollars, which shall be divided into— ^ ^ 

hundred shares of dollars each, which shall be 

paid in as follows (or at such times and in 

such amounts as the board of directors may determine), and may be 
paid either in cash, property, labor or securities, as the board of direc- 
tors may determine. 

Sec. 2. The stockholders shall meet on the 

of the month of ^ of each year, and at such other 

times as is provided in Article III, Section 3. 

Sec. 3. Thirty per cent of the stockholders in number shall consti- 
tute a quorum for the transaction of business at any regular or special 
meeting of the stockholders. 

Apportionment of Earnings 
Section 1. The directors, subject to revisions by the Assodation, at 


any general or special meeting, shall apportion the earnings by first 
paying dividends on the paid-up capital stock, not exceeding 6 (or 8) 
per cent per annum. Then they should set aside not less than 10 per 
cent of the_ net profits for a reserve fund until an amount has accumu- 
lated in said reserve fund equal to 30 per cent of the paid-up capital 
stock. Then the remainder of said net profits should be distributed by 
uniform dividend upon the amount of purchases made by shareholders, 
and one-half of such uniform dividend should be paid non-shareholders 
on the amount of their purchases. 

(Note. — This half-rate dividend may be credited to the account of 
such non-shareholders on account of capital stock of the Association. 
In selling agencies, such as fruit, truck, peanut and cotton growers' 
associations, and in productive associations such as creameries, can- 
neries, warehouses, factories and the like, dividends should be pro- 
rated according to the raw material delivered instead of on goods pur- 
chased. In case the Association is both a selling and a productive 
concern, the dividends may be on both raw material delivered and on 
goods purchased by patrons.) 

Sale of Products 
Section 1. This organization shall have the exclusive and un- 
qualified power to market those products of its members which the 
Association was formed to sell; provided, if a competitor raises the 
price of farm products above that which the Association gives, any 
stockholder may have the right to sell his products through an outside 
agency, provided he pays his proper proportion of the running ex- 
penses to the Association, as required by rules fixed by the stockholders 
or directors. This sum should not exceed 5 per cent of the value of 
products so sold to a competing concern. 


Amendments to By-Laws 

Section 1. These by-laws may be altered or amended by a two- 
tiiirds vote of the members present at any regular annual meeting or 
any special meeting called for that purpose. In the latter case, ten 
days' notice thereof shall have been given to all the members previous 
to the time of voting thereon. 

Sec. 3. Whenever, in the opinion of the board of directors, a change 
in the rules and regulations is necessary, they shall have power to in- 
itiate such change and refer it to the shareholders for final action. 

Order of Business 
1. Call to order. 
S. Roll-call of officers. 

3. Reading minutes of last meeting. 

4. Reports of officers. 


5. Reports of committees. 

6. Report of education committee. 

7. Reports of managers. 

8. Communications and bills. 

9. Grievances and complaints. 

10. Consideration of reports. 

11. Election of officers. 

12. Filling vacancies. 

13. Appointing committees. 

14. Unfinished business. 

15. New business. 

16. Good of the company. 

17. Sign minutes. 

18. Adjournment 

We are also glad to give herewith another form of by- 
laws which, out of a large number considered by him, has 
won the especial commendation of so good an authority as 
Dr. John Lee Coulter (see Chapter VII). It will be well 
for a group of co-operators to examine both forms here 
presented, picking the best ideas from each, and then amend 
in any particular to suit local conditions. The model form 
selected by Dr. Coulter is that of the Lakefield (Minn.) 
Farmers' Co-operative Elevator Company, and reads as 
follows : 

Constitution and By-Laws 


Section 1. The officers of this corporation shall consist of a presi- 
dent, vice-president, secretary and treasurer, who shall be elected by 
the directors and who shall perform the duties usually appertaining to 
their respective offices. Said officers shall hold office for- one year, and 
Until their successors are elected and q alified. 

Sec. 2. No person shall be eligible to the office of president, vice- 
president or treasurer who is not a director; and no person shall be 
eligible to the office of director who is not a stockholder. A president, 
vice-president, treasurer, secretary or director who ceases at any time 
to be a stockholder shall at the same time cease to hold any office in 
this corporation. 

Sec. 3. The board of directors may by resolution require any and 
all of the general officers and agents of this corporation to give a bond 
to the corporation with sufficient securities conditioned for the faithful 
performance of the duties of their respective offices and such other con- 


iditions as may from time to time be required by the board of directors. 
Sec. 4. All written contracts entered into in behalf of this cor- 
poration shall be signed by the president and secretary, and the cor- 
porate seal shall be attached thereto. 

Directors and Their Duties 

Section 1. The affairs of this corporation shall be managed by a 
board of nine directors, who shall be elected by the stockholders at the 
regular annual meeting, and who shall hold office for one year and until 
their successors are elected. 

Sec. 8. The directors shall elect all the officers of the corporation 
and appoint all its agents. Vacancies in the board of directors may be 
filled by the remaining members of the board at any regular or special 
meeting of the board. 

Sec. 3. The regular meeting of the board of directors shall be held 
immediately after the adjournment of each regular annual meeting of 
the stockholders, and also upon call of the president or secretary upon 
one (1) day's notice, either orally or in writing. Such meeting shall be 
held at the general office of the corporation. 

Sec. 4. Special meetings of the board of directors may be called at 
any time by the president or secretary by giving to each director a 
written or oral notice, either orally or in writing, at least one day 
before the time of such meeting. 

Sec. 5. At all regular or special meetings of the board of directors 
a majority of the board shall constitute a quorum for the transaction 
of business, but a smaller number may adjourn the meeting to another 
day or hour. 

Sec. 6. At each regular annual meeting of the stockholders, the 
board of directors shall present a general statement or report of the 
business of the preceding year, and of the financial condition of the 

Regulations Concerning Stock 

Section 1. The capital stock of this corporation shall be divided 
into 1,000 shares of the value of fifty ($50) dollars each. 

Sec. 3. All certificates shall be signed by the president and secre- 
tary and the corporate seal shall be attached thereto. 

Sec. 3. Shares of the capital stock shall be transferred by indorse- 
ment of the certificate, and its surrender to the secretary for cancella- 
tion, and such transfer approved by the board of directors, whereupon 
a new certificate shall be issued to the transferee. The board of direc- 
tors may by resolution forbid the transfer of stock for a space of time 
not exceeding thirty (30) days immediately before the meeting of the 
stockholders or immediately before the time a dividend is payable. 
Provided, that in no event shall any stock be transferred until any and 



all indebtedness owing by such stockholder to this corporation shall 
have been paid. 

Sec. 4. No stock shall be issued to any other person than a prac- 
tical farmer, said practical farmer shall be defined as one who makes 
his living by farming, or one who has ceased farming and is not en- 
gaged in any other business that will conilict in any way with the busi- 
ness carried on by this corporation. No person can own more than 
three (3) shares of capital stock. 

Sec. 5. There shall be no assessment levied at any time unless at a 
regular or special meeting of the stockholders, and no assessment can 
be levied at any regular or special meeting of stockholders unless each 
stockholder has been duly notified by a written notice thereof ten (10) 
days prior to such regular or special meeting at which time an assess- 
ment shall be levied. 

Sec. 6. Any stockholder who shall fail to pay any assessment levied 
on his stock for thirty (30) days after the same shall be due shall 
be served by a written or printed notice by the secretary, personally, 
or by registered letter through the United States mail. Such notice 
shall state the amount due from such stockholder, and shall notify him 
that unless he pays the same within thirty (30) days after the service 
of such notice his stock shall be forfeited. 

If the delinquent stockholder fails to pay the entire amount due from 
him within the time specified in such notice, his stock shall become for- 
feited without further notice on the part of the corporation, and such 
forfeited stock may thereupon, without further notice, be sold by the 
secretary for the benefit of the corporation, at either public or private 
sale, provided, that the proceeds of such sale, if any over and above the 
amount due on said stock, shall be paid on demand to the delinquent 

Stockholder/ Meetings 

Section 1. The regular annual meeting of the stockholders of this 
corporation shall be held in the general office of this corporation in 
Lakefield, Minn., on the last Saturday of June in each year at the hour 
of 10 o'clock a. m. Special meetings of the stockholders may be called 
by the board of directors. 

Sec. 3. The secretary shall mail to each stockholder at his known 
place of residence a written or printed notice of the time and the place 
of holding every annual and special stockholders' meeting. Such 
notice shall be mailed at least ten (10) days before the time at which 
the meeting is to be held. 

Sec. 3. At all meetings of the stockholders, each stockholder shall 
be entitled to cast one vote for each share of stock owned by him 
regardless of the number of shares of stock owned. He may vote in 
person or by proxy, but such proxy shall be a stockholder, the appoint- 
ment being made in writing and duly filed with the secretary and by 
him entered upon the records of the proceedings of the meeting. 

Sec. 4. At any stockholders' meeting a majority of the stock must 


be represented in order to constitute a quorum for the transaction of 
business, but the stockholders present at any meeting, although less 
than a quorum, may adjourn the meeting to some other day or hour. 
Sec. 5. The president and secretary of the corporation shall act as 
president and secretary of each stockholders' meeting unless the meet- 
ing shall otherwise decide. Any stockholders' meeting may at any time 
elect a president and secretary of the meeting and thereupon the presi- 
dent and secretary of the corporation shall no longer act as president 
and secretary of said meeting. 

Section 1. These by-laws, or any of them, may be altered, amended, 
added to or repealed at any meeting of the board of directors. 

Assessments and Penalties 

Section 1. Assessments for the payment of agents' or employees' 
salaries, or other expenses connected with the business of this cor- 
poration, or for the purpose of increasing available funds on hand, or 
to cover any deficit in the treasury of the corporation, shall be made 
upon the several stockholders in proportion and pro rata upon the 
stock held or owned by each stockholder. 

Sec. 2. Any stockholder who shall at any time while a member of 
this corporation, sell or dispose of to any dealer or elevator company 
other than this corporation, any grain or seeds of any kind, or who shall 
deliver to the other dealers or elevator companies for shipment to 
terminal markets, any grain or seeds of any, kind, shall pay to his 
corporation an assessment and penalty of one cent per bushel for each 
and every bushel of grain so sold or disposed of to other dealers or 
elevator companies, or shipped through other dealers or elevator com- 
panies, which sum shall become due and payable forthwith, when the 
buyer or secretary or directors of this corporation shall receive notice 
or be apprised of the amount of grain or seeds so shipped or disposed 
of through other dealers. And in case of the refusal or failure to pay 
said sum then due for such sale or shipment as aforesaid, to this 
corporation upon demand, by the buyer or agent of this corporation to 
the secretary, then, in such case, the secretary of this corporation is 
hereby authoiized and fully empowered to levy an assessment and pen- 
alty against such delinquent stockholder, said levy to be made under 
the direction of the board of directors at any general or special meet- 
ing of the board ; said levy and assessments to be made on the basis 
of two cents per bushel for all grain or seeds so sold, disposed of or 
shipped to oi through other dealers or elevator companies and said 
assessment and penalty shall be enforced against such delinquent 
stockholder, aid the collection of the same shall be made in a manner 
provided for the collection of assessment and penalties under Section 
six (6) of Article three (3) of these by-laws, and said delinquent 



Stockholder's stock shall be sold and disposed of for the purpose of 
enforcing the collection of such assessment as therein provided in said 
Section six (6) of Article three (3). 

Amendments Adopted 

Amendment to Article one (1), Section three (3) of the by-laws 
was adopted December 16, 1905. 

The president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer and manager shall 
each give a bond to the corporation with sufficient securities conditioned 
for the faithful performance of the duties of their respective positions 
and such other duties as may from time to time be imposed upon them 
by the board of directors. The minimum amount of such bond shall be 
as follows: President, $1,000; vice-president, $1,000; secretary, $1,000; 
treasurer, $2,000; manager, $2,000. The board of directors may by 
resolution require from said officers, or any of them, a bond in such 
additional amounts as the board of directors may from time to time 
deem necessary. 

By-Law Added July lo, xgog 

Incase of the removal of a stockholder from the trading territory 
of this corporation, the board of directors are hereby authorized to 
return to such stockholder all moneys and property received by such 
corporation for such share or shares of stock held by such stock- 
holder, upon proper surrender by such stockholder of sjich share or 
shares of stock; provided, however, that this provision shall be sub- 
ject to the general laws of the state governing corporations. 

At the end of each fiscal year, the board of directors siall distribute 
the net profits, after all operating and other expenses are paid, as fol- 
lows, and in the order following: 

1. A dividend equal to the current rate of interest, but tiot to exceed 
8 per cent, shall be paid upon the capital stock of the corporation if 
there are sufficient profits for this purpose, otherwise pro rata. 

2. Out of the balance of such net profits, if any there be, an amount, 
not less than 5 per cent of such profits, shall be set over to the reserve 
fund, until such reserve fund shall equal the amount required by law ; 
thereafter, such amount annually as the board of directors shall de- 
termine. ; 

3. The balance of the net profits, if any, shall be distributed to the 
patrons of the corporation as follows : 1 

To stockholding patrons, upon the sales to and purchases from the 
corporation, in proportion to the said sales and purchase! for the pre- 
ceding year. 

To non-stockholding patrons of the corporation at a rae of one-half 
that applied to stockholding patrons, and only upon the aiiount of pur- 

chases from the corporation, in proportion to the amount 
chases for the preceding year. 

of such pur- 


The Willmar (Minn.) Co-operative Mercantile Company, 
mentioned in our chapter on the Svea community, also has 
some interesting regulations. One of them reads as fol- 
lows : 

"Section 3. The absence of a director, officer or committeeman 
from' three successive regular meetings shall be deemed a resignation, 
unless such absence is decided unavoidable by a concurrence of a ma- 
jority of such body. The acceptance by any director of the manager- 
ship or any other position in the company shall constitute a resigna- 
tion of such director. The board of directors shall proceed to fill such 
vacancy until next regular meeting of the company." 

The following sections on "Manner of Conducting Busi- 
ness" are also instructive : 

Section 1. Produce or labor will be taken in exchange for goods, 
at net cash value and will be considered cash. 

Sec. 3. Goods shall be sold at ordinary market price. 

Sec. 3. A record shall be kept of all the purchases of members and 
resident non-members, and every non-member patron shall be paid one- 
half as much percentage of purchase dividend as members. 

Sec. 4. Dividends on purchases will be paid only on duplicate sales 
slips returned each month on or before January first of the current 
year, and in compliance with the following conditions : 

(o) The name of the member, the date of purchase and the sales- 
man's initials or number must be written by the clerk on the sales slip 
at time of purchase. 

(6) Each member shall arrange his sales slips in chronological 
order, and shall on a separate sheet write in ink the amount of each 
slip in said order in columns and shall add the same. 

(c) He shall then tie the sales slips and the statement sheet together 
in a compact form, and on the outside write his name in ink and the 
total amount of purchases on which he is entitled to draw dividends. 

(d) No dividend will be paid on slips marked NET, and all goods 
sold for less than 5 per cent gross profit shall be so marked, nor on 
slips dated more than six months prior to the closing fiscal dividend 

Sec 5. The company may permit deserving persons to subscribe 
for shares, and to pay for same on the installment plan, but such per- 
sons must sign notes specifying times of payment. All dividends to be 



credite'd on said notes, toward the payment of the stock subscribed for, 
until the member has fully paid said notes, and all other indebtedness 
to the company. 

Sec. 6. Ten per cent of the members shall have the right to initiate 
any measure or policy that they see fit, and when such number of mem- 
bers shall present a desired measure to the board the latter shall refer 
the same to the stockholders for final action by referendum. 

Sec. 7. Annually, as soon as possible after the end of the fiscal 
year, after paying the expenses of the company and the management 
thereof, including 4 per cent per annum deducted from the value of 
fixtures and 3 for cent per annum from the value of buildings, the net 
profits of the one year preceding shall be divided as follows : 

(o) On all shares of capital stock of this company subscribed and 

settled for, a capital stock dividend at the rate of- per cent per 

annum shall be allowed, but in no case is this dividend to exceed the 
net profits of such year. 

(6) Then the board of directors shall set aside the following sums 
to the following funds out of the remaining net profits of such year; 
5 per cent to- the educational fund and not less than 10 per cent to the 
reserve fund; then the board shall apportion the balance of the net 
total sum profits of such half year among all the members and patrons 
according to the amount of their individual patronage. (See Sections 
3, 4 and 5, Article XL) 


Mr. A. D. Wilson of the Minnesota Agricultural Station 
and St. Paul Farmer, under whose direction hundreds of 
farmers' clubs have been organized in the Northwest, sug- 
gests the following form of constitution and by-laws, which 
may also be varied to suit the wishes of members : 

Model Constitution 

This Club shall be known as the "Farmers' Club of ." 


Its purpose shall be to further the material and social interests of its 

members in particular, and of the people of , and the vicinity 

in general. 


Its general officers shall be a president, vice-president, a secretary 
and a treasurer. 


5\ny person may become a member upon receiving a two-thirds vote 
af any regular meeting, and paying one year's dues in advance. 


This constitution may be amended at any regular meeting by a two- 
thirds vote, upon one month's written notice. 


Section 1. The duties of each officer named in the constitution 
shall be such as usually pertain to his position. 

Sec 3. All other duties shall be performed by an executive com- 
mittee of three, which shall be appointed by the president annually upon 
his assuming office. 

Sec. 3. The annual dues shall be one dollar ($1.00), payable in 



Sec. 4. Regular meetings shall be held on the first Saturday of eacK 
month, and special meetings may be called at any time by the president, 
with the approval of a majority of the executive committee. 

Sec. 5. The Club shall not engage in any commercial transactions, 
but shall aid and further business associations among its members; 
particularly such associations as pertain to the purchase of necessary 
supplies, and the purchase, sale and management of stock and agricul- 
tural and garden products. 

Sec. 6. From time to time it shall give entertainments and hold 
meetings, under direction of the executive committee, for the benefit 
of its members and of those whom they may invite to meet with them. 

Sec. 7. The officers of this Association shall be elected annually at 
the first regular meeting in the fall and hold their offices until their 
successors are duly elected and qualified. 

Sec. 8. Any member may be expelled from the Club by a majority 
vote at any meeting without a refund of dues. 

Sec. 9. These by-laws may be amended at any regular meeting by a 
majority vote upon a one month's written notice. 


Rules Which Should Be Observed in Conducting Meetings of Farmer^ 
Clubs, Par"* Women's Clubs, Co-operative Societies, etc. 

In the absence of a president, the vice-president presides; in the 
absence of both, the secretary; or, in his absence, any other officer; or, 
in the absence of all officers, any member may preside during election 
of president pro tempore. 

A point of order may be raised at any stage of the proceedings, and 
shall be decided by the chairman without debate. The decision of the 
chairman may be appealed from, but such appeal may be sustained only 
by a two-thirds vote of members present. The chairman may submit 
a point of order to the body, in which case a majority vote decides. 

When the previous question is called for, it should be put in this 
form by the diairman, and decided without debate: "Shall the main 
question be now put?" If carried, and an amendment is pending, the 
chairman should then first put the amendment. The chairman should 
then put the main question, as amended (if amended) ; all should be 
decided without debate. 

Pending motion for the previous question, or after it has been 
ordered, the chairman may entertain a motion to refer to a standing 
or a special committee. 

It is a breach of order for the chairman to refuse to put a question 
that is in order. 

A member desiring to speak should arise and address the chairman, 
and should not proceed until recognized. The chairman should recog- 
nize the member who first addressed him. The member recognized 
has the floor. 

No member when speaking should be interrupted without his con- 
sent. To obtain consent, the chairman should first be addressed — as 
for example : "Mr. Chairman, will the brother permit a question ?" 
or "statement" or "an interruption," etc. 

No member should attempt to speak more than once upon the same 
question without permission of the body, which should be determined 
without debate. 

Any member who in debate transgresses rules should be called to 
order by the chairman, or any member may call him to order. _ He 
should not proceed without permission, which should be determined 
without debate. 

A special order is consideration of a given question at a time cer- 
tain. Any member may insist upon compliance with a special order. A 
motion to change or postpone a special order should be decided without 

If a question in debate contain several points or conditions, any 
member may call for a division — that is, a consideration of each 



proposition^ separately. The points of difference must be so distinct 
that one being taken away the other will stand as a definite proposition. 

When the result of a vote is in doubt, and a division is called for, it 
may be determined by a rising vote — first, the "ayes," then the "noes." 

A question of privilege arising from a dispute between members, 
or for other cause, must be disposed of before the original question. 

The mover of a question, or the member making a committee report, 
has the privilege of closing debate upon the question. 

If any part or point of an amendment is subject to a point of order, 
the entire amendment is out of order. 

No motion is in possession of the body until duly seconded. The 
mover of a motion may, without consent of his second, withdraw it; 
provided, the meeting may refuse this permission. 

A motion may be reduced to writing on demaftd of any member. 

No dilatory motion should be entertained by the chairman. 

When motions are pending to refer a question to a special or stand- 
ing committee, the vote shall be first upon reference to a standing com- 
mittee; if upon different dates for specific purpose, the vote should be 
first upon date most remote; if upon appropriations for a purpose, on 
different amounts, the vote should first be upon the largest amount. 

A motion to reconsider a question is decided by a majority vote. If 
a majority refuse to reconsider, a second motion to reconsider can only 
be entertained by unanimous consent. 

A motion or resolution referred to a committee cannot be brought 
back by a motion to reconsider. 

An amendment to a pending motion is in order, an amendment to an 
amendment is in order, but an amendment to an amendment of an 
amendment cannot be entertained. A substitute to an amended amend- 
ment is in order, and one amendment to the substitute may be enter- 

When a question is pending, only the following motions are in 
order : 

(1.) To adjourn. 

(2.) To lay on the table. 

13.) The previous question. 

(4.) To postpone to a time certain. 

(S.) To refer or commit (synonymous terms). 

(6.) To postpone indefinitely. 

iTiese motions have precedence in the order given, and the motions 
to adjourn, to lay on the table, and the previous question, are not 

A motion to adjourn when another member is on the floor is out of 
order; but a member may yield the floor to another for the purpose 
of making a motion to adjourn. 

Points not covered by these rules are to be decided according to 
Jefferson's Manual. — From Farmers' Union Constitution and By-Laws 



Absentee landlords, excess tax on 174 

Accident insurance, co-operative 183-184 

Advertising, co-operative 130-131 

Agriculture, its importance to the State 187 

Amortization, methods of payment illustrated 49-50, 189-190 

Amendments to by-laws 227, 235-235 

Arbitrating disputes -. 15, 71, 184 

Assessments on stock— 230-231 

Auditing books, importance of careful 80, 87, 120, 146, 163, 318-219 

Bacon factories, Danish ^-^^ 189, 191, 192, 201 

Baking, co-operative ^ 213 

Banks, agricultural 155-163 

Barrow, Prof. D. N., assists the author 5 

Berry growers, co-operative selling 90-94 

Bonding officers-—.- - 225, 228, 231-233 

Borrow money instead of pay "time prices" 43-45 

Boys, developing through co-operative business 152-153 

Brands, importance of making a reputation for — 115, 118, 151, 214-215 

Branson, E. C, quoted 24 

Breaking rules, how to deal with members 93-93, 121, 139, 205 

Building and loan association, rural 126-127 

Business management of co-operative enterprises 123-125, 135 

Butter prices, country vs. creamery 77, 124, 152, 198 

Buying co-operatively 10-37, 135, 215-216 

Advantages of large orders 43-43 

Suggested prizes for farmers' clubs 59-60 

Buying out old enterprises instead of starting new__36, 38, 39, 71, 80, 86 
By-laws 73, 333-236 

California, co-operative marketing of oranges, etc. 130-136 

Called meetings 326, 229 

Camp, Prof. Wfti. R., assists the author 5, 72 

Capital stock in various enterprises — 73, 87, 91, 96, 114, 130, 134, 136 

157, 160, 164, 195, 204, 225-336, 339 
Cash systetn urged for Co-Opefative societies 16, 89, 70 




Cash system urged for individual farmers 43-45 

Catawba County, N. C. — i 133-129 

Cheese making, how co-operation saved Wisconsin farmers enor- 
mous profits 97-98 

Cleanliness enforced in dairying 198-199 

Citrus fruit, co-operative marketing' of 130-136 

City vs. country 30-31 

City stores should sell cheaper to farmers, etc 41-43 

Clover hulling co-operatively 66 

Collingwood, H. W., quoted 66 

■Committees for farmers' clubs 31-33, 35 

Community spirit needed 30-31 

Competition, unfair, how to meet it 88, 89, 93, 131, 196-197, 337, 331 

■Contracts, necessity for legal, binding forms 71, 92-93, 195-197, 220 

Co-operation vs. capitalism 21-22, 176 

Co-operation defined 33, 28 

Co-operation, five needed lines 24 

Thirteen rules ... 70-71 

Co-operation, how to start 36 

Co-operation insures reward for quality 198 

Co-operation means threefold profits 191, 330 

Co-operation, rapid growth in Northwest 95 

Co-operative societies, number in Ireland 148, 151, 164-165 

Denmark 194, 301, 213 

Co-operative stores or warehouses 37-47, 93 

Rules for 39, 45-46, 333 

Dividends 39, 79, 83 

Svea store 79-83, 86-87 

Cotton, necessity for co-operative marketing and selling 100-112 

An example of 137-141 

Cottonseed, co-operative marketing 64^65 

Need for 109-110, 139, 140 

Coulter, Dr. John Lee, quoted 74, 228 

Creameries, co-operative 13, 77, 94, 133-135, 151, 192, 194, 196-200 

Credit unions 54, 155, 161-162, 217 

Cutting prices, bad policy 70, 333 

Dairying, co-operation to promote 192-193, 214 

Denmark, rural co-operation in 186-320 

Depreciation of property, allowance should be made for 234 

Difficulties in starting co-operation 8, 149, 151 

Directors, how elected, duties, etc 135, 154, 304, 225, 228-329 

Directors, when they shall not vote . 325 

J^isaster as an incentive to co-operation 178-179 

INDEX 241 


Distribution of products regulated 115-116, 121, 131-134, 153 

Dividends credited on stock 79, 233-234 

Eastern Shore of Virginia Produce Exchange 113-122 

Economies of co-operation, how it reduces expense, etc 41, 99, 111 

114. 150 

Education as an aid to co-operation 83-84, 187-188, 207-212 

Educational fund 71 

Egan, M. F., quoted 187-188, 190 

Egg collecting 123-125, 153, 192, 204-205 

England, co-operation in 172-177 

Expensive service to be avoided 45-47 

Faith in people a necessity 9 

Farmers' duty to mankind 25 

Farmers' organizations: Clubs, Unions, Granges, etc 29-36, 56, 62-63 

Farmers' Union 29, 56-62, 188 

Federation of co-operative societies 115, 123, 132, 135, 153, 176-177 


Fees, membership 86; 138, 156, 164 

Fertilizers and feedstuffs, reduced cost through co-operative buy- 
ing 10, 45, 180-181 

Financing co-operative enterprises 87, 90-91, 195, 217 

Fines or punishment for violating rules 92, 121, 139, 205 

"Finishing" farm products 12, 24-26 

Florida, co-operative marketing of oranges 130-131 

Folk or people's high schools in Denmark 207-212 

France, co-operation in 178-185 

Goddard, L. H., quoted 41-43, 45-46 

"Gombeen-men" in Ireland 149-150, 215 

Government aid to agriculture, Denmark 213-315 

Grading, farmers robbed by present failure to grade properly— 103-109 

Grading products co-operatively 37, 118-119, 133, 141, 168-169, 198 

Grain elevators, co-operative 80, 87-89 

Grange indorsed 29, 56 

Green, J. Z., quoted 53-54 

Haggard, Rider, quoted 173-173, 199 

Happiness through service 8-9, 17 

Helplessness of individual shippers 117 

High schools, Denmark's remarkable 209-212 

Home ownership essential to development of co-operation 171-175 

187, 319 




Illinois, co-operative insurance in 142-143 

Incorporating, advantages of 72 

Statement of purposes 73 

Initiative and referendum in co-operative business 234 

Inspection of products 118-119, 138 

Insurance, co-operative or mutual, fire, etc 14, 126, 135, 142-146 

182, 203 

Accident . 183 

Ireland, co-operation in 148-170 

Land courts ; 174 

Land ownership, Ireland 169 

England 172 

France 178 

Denmark 187 

Land purchase co-operatively 189-190 

Land purchase, government aid to, Ireland 49, 169, 190 

New Zealand 49 

Denmark 189-191, 192 

Land taxes, graduated 174 

Laundry, co-operative 94-97 

Leadership, an appeal for 7-9, 17 

Live stock, co-operative purchase of pure-bred sires 13, 66, 182, 184 


Live stock, co-operative shipping 98-99 

Live stock, insurance 145-146, 183 

Loans, expensiveness of, under ordinary banking 157-158, 161 

Love of one's fellows necessary 9-10 

Machinery, co-operative use of 10-11, 63-64, 164, 181-182 

Maine, co-operative insurance in 142 

Manufacturers, Danish, how farmers brought them to terras 216 

Marketing crops co-operatively 11, 13, 65, 67-69, 185 

Membership, limited to farmers 224, 230 

Merchants, Danish, oppose co-operative buying 215-217 

Minnesota, co-operation in 75 

Need for co-operation 7 

New members must not be debarred 71, 77 

North Carolina, work of Farmers' Union 59-60 

Fire insurance 143-144 

Notice of meetings 227, 229, 230 

INDEX 243 


Oklahoma, cotton marketing studies 107-108 

Old men alert 209 

One-horse farmers, co-operation in plowing 193 

"One man, one vote" 70, 119, 161, 197, 204 

Organizing a co-operative society 70-74 

Packing and shipping, importance of instruction 168-169 

Pastors, country, their influence ^ 78-79, 153 

Patronage dividends, discussed and illustrated— 69, 71, 77, 79, 82, 86-87 

119, 124, 153, 176, 197, 232, 233, 234 

Plunkett, Sir Horace, quoted 58, 147, 166-167 

Political prestige through organization 166, 179, 207, 220 

Pooling prices 116 

Potato marketing co-operatively 113-122, 127-128 

Poultry, co-operative marketing 123-135, 151-154, 192, 204-205 

Production, economical 'and scientific urged 60-61, 166-169, 200 

"Productive purposes," loans limited 156, 158-159 

Profits, increased through co-operation^._94, 97, 98, 131, 135, 140, 142 

152-153, 158, 159, 166, 204 

Promptness as an asset 180-181 

Proxy voting 230 

Quality products, importance of— 16, 77, 115, 118, 150, 198, 200, 203, 206 

Quality, guaranteeing it by identifying product 93, 118, 138-139, 205 

Quality products, insured by inspection 214-215 

Qualities of leadership 9 

Race problem and co-operation in Southern States 16-17 

Raiffeisen credit society 155 

Railroad rates 93, 134, 184 

Raw material, dividends on 227 

Reading, importance of 84 

Regularity of service important 68, 150, 198 

Reserve fund, necessity for establishing 71, 227 

Right Relationship League, mentioned 146 

Rochdale pioneers 176-178 

"Roll call of opinions," suggested for farmers' clubs 30 

Rules for co-operation, thirteen fundamental 70-71 

Rural credits 7, 27, 43-44, 47-55, 155^163, 217 

Russell, Geo. W., quoted 30, 40 

Savings habit must be encouraged 54r-55 

School tax in Svea, Minn 83 

Secretary's duties 326 




Seeds, co-operative wholesale society 216 

Share holding, individual, limited to 10 per cent 225 

Shares, how offered for sale or transferred 224, 230 

Shares, right of organization to buy 324 

Shares, should be small 70, 73 

Shuford, W. J., quoted 144 

Size of farms in Denmark 219 

Social life, co-operation to improve it 85, 184, 209-211 

Stopford, E. A., quoted . 179-180, 185 

Surveys, rural 33-35, 128 

Svea, Minn. 75-89 

Swindler, how he robbed Danish co-operative societies 218-219 

Telephones, rural 9, 77 

Tenancy, ruinous to agricultural development 171-172, 174^175 

"Time prices," heavy cost of 43-44 

Torrens system land titles explained 51-53 

Town patrons for co-operative stores 86 

Trust competition 89 

Volume of business, should be assured 216 

Warehouses 45-47 

Warehousing, co-operative for cotton growers 100-103 

Water supply, co-operative 189, 199-200 

Weather damage on cotton 101-102 

Williams, C. B., quoted . 88 

Wholesale societies, Irish 151, 153 

English 176-177 

Woman's work and organizations 10, 32-33, 85, 97, 129 

Ireland 165-166, 170 

Denmark S09 

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What Fertilizers Are and Why Used 

What Commercial Fertilizers Are 

What Nitrogen Does and How we Get It 

About Phosphoric Acid 

Potash in Commercial Fertilizers 

Why Fertilizers Pay Best on Good Soils 

How to Tell What Fertilizer a Soil Needs 

The Special Needs of Different Crops 

What the Analysis Means . 

How to Do Home Mixing 

Best Methods of Applying Fertilizers 

A Brief Review of Foregoing Chapters 

Keeping Up Soil Fertility 

Why Green Manures Benefit the Soil 

When and How to Use Green Manures 

Making and Caring for Stable Manures 

How and When to Apply Stable Manure 

The Profitable Use of Lime . . • , 


Plant Food in Typical Soils 

What Crops Take From the Soil .... 
Fertilizing Materials in Feeding Stuffs 
Analysis of Fertilizing Materials .... 
Value of Manure Produced by Live Stock 
Composition of Farm Manures .... 
Ten Sample Mixtures that Farmers Can Make 







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